Quiet bats haunting Mariners entering series vs. Padres

Their lineup is swinging and missing at a frightening pace. Their once-comfortable American League West lead is shrinking almost daily after losing six straight series.

The skidding Seattle Mariners get another crack at sparking a much-needed turnaround on Tuesday night when they visit the San Diego Padres to open a two-game set and a six-game road trip.

Seattle dropped a 5-4, 10-inning decision Sunday to Toronto, closing out a 3-6 homestand that saw the Mariners average less than three runs per game. The latest loss was frustrating because the team left the bases loaded in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings.

“Our guys competed their tails off, creating all that traffic out there and putting the pressure on them,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said “But you’ve got to come through. You’ve got to get the big hit or get the guy in from third.”

In the middle of June, the Mariners owned a 10-game lead, leaving the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers and the floundering Houston Astros choking in the exhaust.

Now? As the warning says, objects are closer than they appear in your rear-view mirror. Houston is just two games out and Texas has crawled within six entering Monday’s play.

Seattle’s offense is averaging less than four runs per game and striking out more than 10 times per game. The Mariners have hit 100 home runs in 92 games so far, but that hasn’t been enough to reverse the recent skid.

But the good news is that right-hander Logan Gilbert (5-5, 2.91 ERA), Seattle’s lone All-Star, will take the mound on Tuesday. Gilbert last pitched Wednesday night, shouldering a 4-1 loss to Baltimore despite fanning six over 5 1/3 innings. He allowed all four runs.

Gilbert has been stout in four career starts against San Diego, going 3-1 with a 1.11 ERA while allowing only 14 hits in 24 1/3 innings.

Meanwhile, the Padres will send rookie right-hander Adam Mazur (1-2, 7.52) to the mound for his first career start against the Mariners. Mazur earned a no-decision in his previous start Wednesday night in Texas, where he allowed four runs over four innings in San Diego’s 6-4 win.

The biggest problem for Mazur over his first six MLB starts has been a lack of command. He’s walking nearly six batters every nine innings and has allowed opponents to hit at a .301 clip.

Starting pitching is the biggest question with the Padres, who currently occupy the last wild-card position in the National League. While it got three quality starts over the weekend against Arizona, the team’s top two starters – Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove – are unlikely to see the mound until August.

However, San Diego is in playoff position due to a strong everyday lineup. Four of the Padres’ nine starters were named to next week’s All-Star Game, including 21-year-old center fielder Jackson Merrill, the youngest player to participate in the game in 11 years.

“Full excitement,” Merrill said of the honor. “The team’s happy for us. No matter who’s going, who’s not, everyone’s behind each other, happy for each other.”

–Field Level Media