KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The heated words of an infuriated manager had barely ceased echoing off the clubhouse walls when Mariners utility man Chris Gimenez tried to sum up his team’s futility.
Gimenez knows manager Eric Wedge better than most Mariners, having played for him in Cleveland two years ago. He has seen Wedge’s angry side before and knows the tongue-lashing his team got after a 7-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday was nothing to be surprised about.
“It’s all on us,” said Gimenez, who stranded seven runners by himself in his team’s fourth straight defeat. “You’re just trying to make something happen instead of letting the game come to you. We’re putting all kinds of pressure on ourselves and just not getting the job done.”
The Mariners stranded 11 runners total and went 0 for 9 with men in scoring position on a cold, blustery afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. They also failed to make plays in the field, allowing the Royals to score three unearned runs off Felix Hernandez as the crowd of 22,364 whooped with delight.
Wedge was furious afterward, calling an impromptu team meeting and letting fly with what he later called “choice words” for his players.
“That’s the problem – it’s the same thing, different day, and it’s unacceptable,” Wedge said. “We’re not going to keep watching this. We’re going to get better and we’re going to address it, obviously, as we’ve been doing as a team and individually, but we’re going to get better. We’re not going to keep doing what we’ve been doing here.”
Hernandez lasted five innings and was down 5-0 when Wedge pulled him 90 pitches into the outing to preserve his arm. Royals starter Sean O’Sullivan, normally a middle reliever and sporting a 11.25 earned-run average, dodged bullets throughout his five innings.
O’Sullivan was in trouble all game, especially in the fourth, when the M’s loaded the bases with one out. But Michael Saunders popped out to shallow left, and Gimenez struck out on an ugly-looking swing at a ball low and outside.
That strikeout was a perfect example of the pressure Gimenez says players are putting on themselves.
“You go up to the plate and you see the .100s by your name and it’s kind of demoralizing,” he said. “With me, I don’t get to play more than once or twice a week, so I’m going up there trying to make something happen.”
Hernandez, winless his last three starts, said the Mariners can’t let the frustration of 11 losses in 13 games bury them in April.
“We tell each other, ‘You’ve got to keep working hard,’ ” he said. “Keep trying to hit, keep trying to pitch. That’s all you can do.”
Gutierrez needs help
It looks as if the Mariners are prepared to send Franklin Gutierrez to a more national-level medical facility for testing on the stomach woes that have sidelined his latest recovery bid.
Gutierrez was scratched from a Friday night rehabilitation outing with Class A High Desert, saying he didn’t feel well. The M’s promptly shelved plans to have him play at all this weekend, and Wedge said the team will likely announce soon that he’s going for more tests.
E—Figgins (1), League (2). LOB—Seattle 11, Kansas City 4. 2B—L.Rodriguez (3), Ryan (3), Gordon (8), Me.Cabrera (3), Aviles (5). RBIs—Gordon 2 (11), Butler (9), Me.Cabrera (7), Aviles 3 (10). SB—Dyson (4). SF—Me.Cabrera. RLISP—Seattle 6, Kansas City 2. RMU—I.Suzuki.
|F.Hrnndez L, 1-2||5||6||5||2||2||6||4.33|
|O’Sullivan W, 1-1||5||5||0||0||2||4||5.00|
WP—League. T—2:46. A—22,364 (37,903).
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