The M's started the series three games over .500 and in possession of a wild-card spot. Now, they're a game under .500 and looking up at several teams for a playoff spot.
Here are three thoughts from the Mariners’ 4-2 loss Sunday to the Angels:
1, What a disappointing start to the Mariners’ only homestand in August.
The Mariners have lost four straight games and no longer own a wild card spot. That it happened on the weekend when the Mariners retired Edgar Martinez’s number and after they returned home a season-best three games over .500 only magnified their struggles (They are now 59-60).
The problems in this first four games were across the board: Sometimes it was the bullpen, sometimes it was the starting pitching, sometimes it was the base running or the lack of runs.
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Plus, the Mariners learned they’d be without their ace, James Paxton, for a few weeks, another blow for a starting rotation that couldn’t afford it.
The Mariners are still firmly in the hunt for a playoff spot, as all the teams bunched in the standings are deeply flawed. But Mariners manager Scott Servais has talked about staying afloat without Paxton, and early on, the Mariners haven’t done that.
2, Ariel Miranda’s struggles continue.
Miranda lasted just 4 2/3 innings. He allowed four runs and walked six and gave up a home run — his 30th home run allowed this season, tied for most in the majors.
Miranda entered the game in an extended funk. In his last six starts, he had a 7.16 ERA and allowed 11 home runs. He’d also allowed at least two home runs in eight of his last 10 starts.
It wasn’t home runs that did Miranda in on Sunday — the one home run he allowed was a solo shot. It was the walks.
Miranda’s six walks were a season high, and it led to not only a high pitch count and a short start but also to two runs. In the fifth inning, Miranda walked two hitters, both of whom scored.
Given the Mariners’ current starting rotation, they need more from Miranda, who couldn’t snap out of his funk on Sunday.
3, The Mariners rarely ever win when they don’t score more than three runs.
This is a really telling stat: After Sunday’s loss, the Mariners are 4-41 when scoring three runs or fewer.
The Mariners threatened to crack that threshold in the ninth inning. Robinson Cano led off with a single, and Nelson Cruz followed with a double, and Jarrod Dyson drove in Cano with a one-out single. The Mariners had runners on the corners with one out, their first real threat since the first inning, when Cruz (of course) drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
But Guillermo Heredia flied out to shallow left field, and Leonys Martin flied out to right field.