It was a lousy way for Scott Downs’ scoreless streak to end.
The Angels and Mariners were tied at one headed to the bottom of the ninth after Dan Haren and Doug Fister dueled to a stalemate for right innings.
After David Pauley worked a scoreless top of the ninth for Seattle, the bottom of the inning with Jack Cust’s accidental swinging bunt single down the third-base line with the shift on. After a sacrifice bunt and a groundout, Carlos Peguero hit a routine fly to center that Torii Hunter lost in the sun, giving the Mariners the game.
The loss was the Angels’ fifth in a row and dropped them under .500 to 22-23 on the season.
Hunter was making his first start of the year in center in place of Peter Bourjos. He made a terrific running catch at the wall in the seventh, robbing Peguero of a double.
The unlucky run against Downs was the first he’s given up in 12 appearances this season.
Haren, though, is the truly unfortunate one. He’s 0-2 with a 2.33 ERA over his last six starts. Twice during that stretch, Fernando Rodney has blown leads in relief of him.
Fister can sympathize. His record held at 2-4 as he lowered his ERA to 2.93.
Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.
Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.
Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:
I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.
The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.
Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.
Jim Leyland also got in on the action:
Go Puerto Rico.