On July 5, in the 10th inning of a 2-2 game against the Oakland Athletics, Franklin Gutierrez and Brendan Ryan scored to give the Seattle Mariners a 4-2 victory and a .500 record. Normally that kind of story wouldn’t be worth telling, but it was also the last time that Seattle has won a game. Since that night in Oakland, the Mariners have lost 17 games in a row. The American League record is 21 (1988 Baltimore Orioles) and the Major League Baseball record is 23 (1961 Philadelphia Phillies). After last night’s 4-1 one-hit loss to C.C. Sabathia and the New York Yankees, it’s looking like a record could be on the cold, rainy Emerald City horizon.
As a St. Louis Cardinals fan, I’m generally regarded as one of the most intelligent, classy and, in this case, sympathetic fans in sports. Seattle fans are a good, knowledgeable and loyal bunch, but they’re never really regarded in the same conversations as the other heartbroken fan bases in sports, like those of the Pittsburgh Pirates or the Cleveland Anythings. After losing the Supersonics to Oklahoma City and Super Bowl XL to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the fans of Seattle sports really only have the Mariners to hang their hopes on (with all due respect to Charlie Whitehurst and your 2011 Seahawks).
That’s why this losing streak is just so sad. Sad enough that I thought we could take a look back at the games, with the help of some really sad pooches. Oh, and for full appreciation of a Mariners fan’s sorrow, play this song in another window.
Special Breaking Score Update: There's been a new dog added to reflect today's Yankees-Mariners outcome.
Some guy named Guillermo Moscoso pitched 7 innings of 2-hit baseball to give the M’s back-to-back losses. No big deal, right?
This loss was pretty simple – Jered Weaver. The younger brother of nutbag Jeff pitched a complete game gem to make it three in a row and a legit losing streak for the M’s.
Close but no smoked salmon. The M’s entered the 9th tied at 3 with the Halos, but Anaheim rookie Mike Trout made a diving catch to close out Seattle in the top half and Mark Trumbo ended the game with a walk-off blast.
Close games be damned. Torii Hunter hit two home runs and drove in 5 RBI while completely demoralizing M’s pitcher Michael Pineda. Seattle matched Anaheim with 12 hits, but the Mariners left 11 runners stranded.
Dan Haren allowed 5 hits and 2 two runs to sink the M’s for their 5th-consecutive loss. Felix Hernandez pitched 7 strong innings for the M’s but his bullpen failed him. With so many Japanese fans, they should be happy nobody demanded Seppuku.
Derek Holland was coming off a complete game shutout when he faced the Mariners, and their slumping ways gave him all he needed for a repeat performance. Holland was perfect through 5 and only gave up 5 hits over the last 4 innings.
Another shutout, this time by Colby Lewis, who pitched 8 2/3 innings of 4-hit baseball. Over the now 7-game losing streak, Ichiro Suzuki’s batting average dropped from .275 to .264.
C.J. Wilson recorded his 10th win of the season in the Mariners’ 8th consecutive loss. But for Felix Hernandez, it was just another tale of a broken back. The King carried the M’s for 7 innings before he gave up 3 runs in the 8th inning. He’s aware that other teams want him, right?
Four-game sweep complete, the Rangers got another gem from Matt Harrison in his best performance of the season. The Mariners' averages were falling faster than an FSU applicant’s SAT scores. (Yay, it’s college football joke time!)
The desperation was there, and so was the effort. But the win still wouldn’t happen. The Blue Jays and Mariners fought for 14 innings before John McDonald hit a walk-off sac fly to give the birds the victory. Ichiro was 1-for-7 and his average was down to an incredibly poor .260.
Jason Vargas was shelled for 5 runs in 3 innings and the M’s couldn’t rally any support until it was too late. Amazingly, the Jays had 11 runs and Jose Bautista had very little to do with it, which makes it all the more sad.
Miguel Olivo hit a game-tying grand slam in the 8th inning to give the Mariners a much-needed boost, but the bullpen missed that memo and gave 2 runs right back to the Jays. At least Ichiro went 3-for-4 and raised his average to .265.
Another game, another loss, another case of Felix Hernandez carrying the burden and collapsing. King Felix took a 2-1 deficit into the 7th when the Red Sox unleashed on him for 5 runs. Seattle came back with a 3-run rally in the 8th but it was already over.
Dustin Ackley’s 3-for-5 performance at the plate was the only bright spot in this 14th consecutive dud for the Mariners. Ackley raised his average to a team-leading .292. Yikes.
Michael Pineda was rocked again, as he surrendered 5 runs in the first inning of his 4 1/3 inning “meh”fort. Ackley went 2-for-5 and raised his average to .297. Funny, his average was pushing toward .300 as quickly as the M’s winning percentage.
Meltdown City. The Yankees poured 8 runs on Seattle’s Jason Vargas, with two errors not helping the cause either. To make it all worse, the Mariners were completely done in by their former (washed up) ace, Freddy Garcia. Maybe they can get him in a trade for Felix Hernandez.
(And, as mentioned, No. 17 was last night. Now go home and hug your dogs.)