The Seattle Mariners completed trades for CF Austin Jackson, DH Kendry Morales and OF Chris Denorfia in late July. Despite these acquisitions, the arsenal of hitters in their lineup is still vulnerable to lulls in production as games become more and more important down the stretch run of the 2014 MLB season. That’s especially the case at home, which is a bad omen for the Emerald City.
Monday night at Safeco Field, the M’s were shutout by a pitcher many fans have probably never heard of before. Texas Rangers‘ Miles Mikolas (2-5, 6.44 ERA) threw eight innings of shutout ball before Neftali Feliz came on in the ninth inning to secure a 2-0 win for the visiting team.
The Mariners even had Robinson Cano back in the lineup after he exited Sunday’s game due to dizziness from what the organization called the flu. He was one of only three M’s hitters who managed to get a hit in the game.
After playing so well in the second half, it’s understandable that a team like Seattle was bound to hit a snag somewhere. Against a Yu Darvish or maybe a Jon Lester in an AL West tilt seems natural. But against a guy like Mikolas playing for the worst team in the division? That’s just downright disheartening. It took Mikolas only 92 pitches to shred through the Mariners’ lineup across eight innings. He gave up three hits, none for extra bases, and walked only catcher Mike Zunino in the second inning.
What’s more consequential to all of this is that the Rangers walked into enemy territory and shut out a superior team with a mediocre pitcher on the mound for them. The Mariners cannot afford to put forth such paltry efforts any longer in 2014, never mind with home-field advantage in their corner. If they again start to lose more games than they win at Safeco in September, teams like the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees have a real shot at claiming the final AL Wild Card position from them.