There wasn’t much noise in the Mariners clubhouse Sunday afternoon. Players quickly packed up to get ready for a key trip to Washington, D.C., Boston and Colorado.
Seattle was doomed early. Chris Heston, who was plagued by command issues with his sinking fastball, and a little bit of bad luck, gave up five first-inning run in the 8-1 loss. On the flip side, Chicago White Sox starter Derek Holland was brilliant with eight innings of one-run ball.
Three takeaways from Sunday’s loss:
**Nelson Cruz has to do it alone ... for now: Slugger Nelson Cruz accounted for the Mariners’ lone run – a seventh-inning home run – and continues to be one of the AL’s top run producers.
After the game, manager Scott Servais said Cruz will go back into the outfield – presumably right field – for the start of the three-game interleague series at Washington on Tuesday.
Since Cruz has been prone to leg injuries, it is a risky move. But without Robinson Cano, his bat has to be in the lineup.
Cruz said his hamstring feel great, and he is ready to roam the outfield.
**Trying to be a savior: Heston, the right-hander who was one of the NL’s better pitchers in 2015 for the San Francisco Giants, was a disaster in his first start for Seattle on Sunday.
After the game, he admitted he tried doing too much, which is something that does not set well generally with Servais.
“His stuff is his stuff. Just because you get called up, you are who you are,” Servais said. “It is al we ask our guys to be.”
This is a lesson that Christian Bergman has adhered to from the get-go. He mentioned last week before his first home start that the pitches he uses to get hitters out in Triple-A Tacoma more often than not will do the same thing in the majors.
**Tough times with Tuffy: Nobody has proclaimed Tuffy Gosewisch to be the long-term solution at catcher.
Meanwhile, after going 1-for-3 Sunday, registering his first hit in 12 days, his average rose to .071. He also grounded into a double play.
How much longer can the team absorb this lack of production, especially with Cano out, and the lineup batting just .214 over the past 11 games (3-8 record)?
Oh yeah, on the same day, Mike Zunino hit another hone run for the Rainiers. His stay in the minor leagues should not last much longer.