BALTIMORE — The Mariners’ new-look lineup featuring the additions of Austin Jackson and Chris Denorfia has come with uneven results. Of course, it has only been three games and Friday was tough with both players traveling that day to make it to Camden Yards. On Saturday night, the lineup looked solid with Jackson at the top of the order reaching base three times and the Mariners scoring six runs.
On Sunday, in a frustrating 1-0 loss, the lineup managed just four hits and a walk against the Orioles. It was the 14th time Seattle has been shut out this season — most in the American League.
But for manager Lloyd McClendon, it will take more than a few games to really show how much improved the lineup is compared to earlier this season. Sunday was not a great sign.
“Listen, Jackson hit three balls today that could have been hits, and they made good plays on them,” McClendon said. “(Dustin) Ackley he hit a couple hard balls. (Kyle) Seager barreled up a ball that could have been a hit. We swung the bats pretty decent but we just didn’t get anything today. That’s baseball.”
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Jackson was 0 for 4 and Denorfia was 0 for 3.
The subject of the Mariners’ offense, or rather lack there of, has been a much-talked about topic this season, particularly since July 1. Obviously, the offensive woes are magnified in a 1-0 loss where starter Hisashi Iwakuma made one mistake — a leadoff homer to Nick Markakis to start the game. Baltimore had just five hits and Markakis had three of them.
“They’re not talking about their offense today, they’re talking about their win,” McClendon said. “This is a game of results. I say that all the time. You win the game you don’t talk about offense. You lose the game and you get four hits, you talk about offense. If we would have won this game 1-0, we’d be talking about one hell of a game, and Kuma, and how well he pitched. That’s just the way it is.”
The players believe the lineup will hit.
“It’s always nice to put together a few games where you score a bunch of runs and get everyone in a groove,” said Mike Zunino. “We are having better at-bats. Hopefully in the next few games we can piece that together.”
• Michael Saunders took Sunday off for a rest day from batting practice as he recovers from a strained oblique. He did play catch in the outfield. The Mariners will work him out on Tuesday after the off day and re-evaluate his situation.
“We’ll see what happens Tuesday and go from there,” McClendon said. “We’re getting close. My hope is later in the week to have him go out and start DHing. We’ll see how it goes.”
Throwing continues to be the toughest thing for the 27-year-old outfielder.
“I think that’s the last thing to come,” McClendon said. “He’s throwing controlled right now. He needs to take a full outfield with different angles: to the line, in the gap, throw to the bases, spin and turn and throw. We’ll find out.”
• Iwakuma walked multiple batters in a start for just the third time this season. He has walked just five batters in his last 10 starts.
• Dustin Ackley went 0 for 4, going hitless for just the third time in 16 games.
• The Mariners have Monday off and open a nine-game homestand on Tuesday, starting with a two-game series with the Atlanta Braves. Seattle is 26-31 at home.
Ryan Divish: 206-464-2373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.