SEATTLE – Robinson Cano was only supposed to hear the jeers and boos cascading from the spectators when he was playing on the road.
Hearing them at Safeco Field after strikeouts and weak grounders was not envisioned when he signed a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Seattle Mariners.
“I always stay positive and every at-bat for me is a different one. I’m not going to overthink,” Cano said. “I haven’t done my job lately. Just go game by game and play hard every single day.”
Cano’s unexpected struggles at the plate are just the tip of one of the biggest underachievers in baseball to date. Picked by many to be a playoff club thanks to Cano and the addition of Nelson Cruz, the Mariners’ 2-9 homestand left them seven games under .500 at 25-32, the second-worst record in the American League.
Seattle became the fourth team in major league history to score no more than three runs during any game of a homestand of 10 games or longer, following the 1913 Chicago White Sox, 1968 Houston Astros and 2010 Mariners. The other three had only 10 games in which to fail, according to STATS.
If 90 victories were the benchmark for the Mariners following an 87-win season that left them one victory shy of a postseason tiebreaker game, the ugly first two months has left Seattle needing to win at a .619 clip the rest of the way to reach that mark.
Nothing the Mariners have shown lately, highlighted by an offense unable to get clutch hits, makes it appear probable.
“Guys that are supposed to perform have to perform,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “The fact is if Robbie Cano, Cruz and (Kyle) Seager don’t hit, then we’re not going to win. And if they continue not to hit, then you’ll be talking to someone else. I’ll be driving a garbage truck.
“That’s just the way it goes.”
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.