Out of Right Field: Offense absent, Mariners drop second straight to Athletics
Aug. 2, 2020 Updated Sun., Aug. 2, 2020 at 6:02 p.m.
Seattle Mariners closing pitcher Erik Swanson holds his light-colored glove as he takes the mound for the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020, in Seattle. Home plate umpire Edwin Moscoso ordered Swanson to exchange his light-colored glove for a darker one. The Athletics won 3-2.
SEATTLE – This year was always going to feature some growing pains for the Seattle Mariners. The pandemic shortening the season to 60 games (or whatever they end up with) doesn’t do them any favors, baseball-wise (or financial), either.
Sunday’s game was just another example of taking the good where you can find it as the M’s try to figure out who might end up being part of the solution and who’s filling out the roster in a lost season.
The Mariners grabbed an early lead, were the beneficiaries of another strong starting performance, but the bullpen acted up again and there was just too little offense.
The Oakland Athletics didn’t hit for much more, but Ramon Laureano’s three-run home run off reliever Anthony Misiewicz was all they needed, and they triumphed 3-2 in the third of a four-game set.
There was good news, though.
Kyle Lewis extended his season-starting hitting streak to 10 games in a loud way, clobbering a solo, two-out homer in the eighth inning off reliever Yusmeiro Petit, estimated at 420 feet. It was Lewis’ third homer of the season.
He’s the fourth player in Mariners franchise history with at least one hit in each of the team’s first 10 games of a season, joining Dee Gordon (2018), Endy Chávez (2009) and Joey Cora (1998).
Shutting it down: The Mariners starting rotation streak of not allowing an earned run reached 23.1 innings before Kendall Graveman gave up a pair with two down in the fifth inning – after being removed from the game.
Graveman didn’t really have his good sinker working in the effort, but used his two-seam fastball effectively on the corners to allow just three hits and two walks with three strikeouts over 4.2 innings. But with two down in the fifth, he lost Tony Kemp, then Marcus Semien beat out a roller to third, with Kemp – who was running on the play – moving to third.
That was it for the starter, as manager Scott Servais called upon rookie left-hander Anthony Misiewicz. The rook was promptly greeted by a three-run homer to left-center by Ramon Laureano, and the streak was over.
Getting it going: Daniel Vogelbach has had a rough go of it thus far in pandemicball. He entered play hitting .077 (1 for 13) with no extra base hits. But the 27-year old slugger was penciled into the lineup i the cleanup spot for the Sunday matinee with 3B Kyle Seager given a day off.
Vogelbach made good on manager Scott Servais’ confidence by rapping a two-out, two-strike RBI single in the bottom of the first, knocking in Dylan Moore, who had reached via fielder’s choice and stole second base.
That was it for Vogelbach, though, as he went 0 for 3 the rest of the way with three groundouts.
Up on the roof: Even though batting practice and warmup were taken under mostly sunny skies, the Mariners closed the retractable roof just before gametime and played with it closed – with no announcement in-house as to why.
During the broadcast, Root Sports announcers provided the reason: the Mariners will play all Sunday day games with the roof closed regardless of the weather, presumably to protect the players from the harshness of playing baseball under sunny skies.
With the roof closed, artificial lights on and natural light streaming in from over the left field grandstand and from behind the gigantic video board in center, it gave the playing field an eerie glow, not unlike the weird sky just before a thunderstorm.
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