SEATTLE – Three starts into his major league career, Blake Beavan has settled right in with this Seattle Mariners pitching staff.
The 22-year-old right-hander can celebrate his three quality outings, including Sunday’s 6 2/3 innings against the potent Texas Rangers, and his 2.70 earned-run average fits with a current starting staff that has combined for a 3.27 ERA.
Oh, and they’re 26-33.
Duped again by an offense that defines a rally as scoring once a day, Beavan’s strong outing became what other Mariners have experienced. A lost cause.
The Rangers beat the Mariners 3-1 on Mitch Moreland’s three-run homer in the second inning.
The Mariners have lost nine straight games, fallen 11 1/2 games behind the first-place Rangers in the American League West and shown no hint of solving the one issue that’s leading to all the losses.
The offense is by far the worst in baseball with a .221 team batting average and an average of 3.2 runs per game.
In the past week, when they set a franchise record with 30 straight scoreless innings, they’ve been lucky to score once. Sunday’s run, provided by Jack Wilson’s RBI single in the eighth inning, was only the Mariners’ second since the All-Star break.
“It’s tough to watch. It’s tough to live through, but you have to do that,” manager Eric Wedge said.
Reality hit rookie outfielder Carlos Peguero squarely Sunday.
The Mariners optioned Peguero, who batted .196 with six home runs but 54 strikeouts in 143 at-bats, to Triple-A Tacoma. They will call up outfielder Mike Carp today and, Wedge said, give him a chance with regular playing time.
Wedge, who has mandated that hitters approach every at-bat with a plan and attack fastballs, said he saw improvement Sunday. Besides Wilson’s RBI single, Josh Bard doubled and Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak and Greg Halman each singled off Rangers starter Matt Harrison.
Beavan, called up early this month after Erik Bedard went on the disabled list because of a sprained knee, became the third pitcher in Mariners history to record three quality starts (at least six innings while allowing three or fewer earned runs) to begin his career (Michael Pineda did it in April and Bob Stoddard in 1981).
Sunday was an especially emotional start for Beavan because it came against the team that drafted him. The Mariners acquired him last July from the Rangers in the Cliff Lee trade.
“Probably today I was more nervous than any other day I’ve pitched,” Beavan said. “It was fun. It was good to get to face one of the best lineups in baseball.”
Rangers 3, Mariners 1
E—Ackley (1). LOB—Texas 7, Seattle 4. 2B—J.Hamilton (16), A.Beltre (25), Napoli (11), J.Bard (3). HR—Moreland (12). RBIs—Moreland 3 (27), Ja.Wilson (7). CS—Napoli (2). RLISP—Texas 3, Seattle 1. RMU—Figgins. GIDP—F.Gutierrez. DP—Texas 1.
IR-S—M.Lowe 1-0, Gray 1-0, Ray 1-0. HBP—Kinsler. T—2:31. A—30,335 (47,878).