A seven-game losing streak in May or June isn’t usually cause for concern. It is, however, when it involves a playoff-contending team heading into the final month of the season.
Ichiro Suzuki had three hits for Seattle (73-60), which has been outscored 47-24 during the seven-game skid, matching a season high set from July 21-26.
“We’re just going through some tough times,” manager John McLaren said. “We’re going to turn it around but we need to turn it around soon. The effort is there and the desire is there. We’re having some breakdowns and it’s hurting us bad.”
The Mariners’ biggest problem during the losing streak has been a pitching staff with a 6.34 ERA. The offense, though, has also struggled, averaging 3.4 runs while posting a dismal .310 on-base percentage.
“We’ve got to get more out of our starters,” McLaren said. “We’re having trouble putting hitters away. If we can do that early in the count, we’ve saved a lot of pitches. We just haven’t been able to do that. It’s a real concern.”
Seattle, which remained one game behind the wild card-leading New York Yankees, has four losing streaks this season of at least six games. The Mariners haven’t lost eight in a row since an 11-game skid Aug. 10-20, 2006.
First baseman Richie Sexson did not start Friday for the Mariners and is sidelined indefinitely. Sexson, tied for the team lead with 21 homers, was removed from Thursday’s game against Cleveland with tightness in his left hamstring.
“We’re going to have to shut him down for a while and get him strong,” McLaren said.
Struggling Miguel Batista (13-10, 4.74 ERA) will try to get the Mariners back into the win column for the first time since Aug. 24. Since beating the Chicago White Sox in back-to-back starts, the right-hander has been reached for 14 runs and 19 hits over eight innings in losses to Minnesota and the Los Angeles Angels. He gave six runs and a season high-tying 10 hits in six innings Monday in a 6-0 loss to the Angels.
Batista, who played for the Blue Jays in 2004 and 2005, is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts this season against his former team. He is 3-1 with a 1.37 ERA in four career starts versus Toronto.
Dustin McGowan (8-8, 4.18) looks to end a personal three-game losing streak. He is 0-3 with a 4.44 ERA in his last four starts after winning his three previous decisions. The right-hander lost to Kelvim Escobar and the Angels for the second time in 11 days Sunday, allowing three runs and six hits in seven innings.
McGowan has pitched much better at home, going 5-2 with a 3.45 ERA in nine starts at Rogers Centre.
He made his only career start against the Mariners at Safeco Field on June 29, and was tagged for five runs and eight hits in five innings of a 5-3 loss.