Blowing a six-run lead in the ninth inning, as the Mariners did on April 9 at Anaheim, is a hard standard to top for any club’s worst loss of the year.
What happened Saturday at Fenway Park, though, deserves consideration.
The Boston Red Sox, while they await David Price’s imminent return from the disabled list, summoned left-hander Brian Johnson from Triple-A Pawtucket to make a spot start against the Mariners.
Johnson proceeded to pitch a complete-game shutout in a 6-0 victory before getting sent back to Pawtucket.
The Mariners have scored just nine runs in their last eight games, and four of those came Thursday at Washington in their only victory in that span. At 21-29, they have the worst record in the American League.
Much like Boston, the Mariners offered up a spot starter Saturday in right-hander Rob Whalen, and he nearly didn’t survive the first inning. Only two outs on the bases limited the Red Sox to three runs.
Whalen settled down after that rocky first and pitched into the sixth inning before exiting after a Jackie Bradley Jr. home run. By the way, Bradley continues to own the Mariners: 15-for-32 in his career with 12 extra-base hits.
The three-game series concludes at 10:35 a.m. Pacific time Sunday. After that, the Mariners head to Denver for the first half of a two-and-two series against the Rockies at Coors Field.
Three takeaways from Saturday’s loss:
***Out of answers: The Mariners can’t explain why their lineup is turtling. Their comments reflect puzzlement, frustration and increasing embarrassment.
They’ve held a players-only meeting. They been scolded for a lack of focus and intensity by manager Scott Servais on various occasions, including Saturday after their weak effort against Johnson.
And things only seem to be getting worse.
***Segura steadies: It’s been easy at times this season to see why some scouts view Jean Segura as a second baseman trying to play shortstop. As one scout put it: Too many routine plays appear to require maximum effort.
It’s also often noted that Segura’s breakout season last year came while he played second base at Arizona after years of mixed success while playing shortstop for Milwaukee.
That perception might require an update if the last few days are any indication. Again on Saturday, Segura turned in a web-gem effort by ranging to his right and throwing across his body to turn an Andrew Benintendi grounder into an out.
***Help on the horizon: The best news Saturday for the Mariners occurred prior to the game.
Left-hander James Paxton returned from a rehab start Friday at Double-A Arkansas, which marked the final step in his recovery from a strained forearm muscle. He will start Wednesday against Colorado at Safeco Field.
Right-handers Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma each threw from a mound for the first time since shoulder injuries forced them to the disabled list. If all goes well, they should rejoin the rotation at some point in June.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners