Seattle Mariners

Three takeaways from the Mariners’ series-ending loss to Cleveland

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Erik Swanson throws against the Cleveland Indians during the fourth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 17, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Erik Swanson throws against the Cleveland Indians during the fourth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 17, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) AP

SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners (13-8) lost their sixth consecutive game in a series-ending 1-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday evening at at T-Mobile Park.

Here are three takeaways from the loss.

1. SWANSON SOLID IN DEBUT

Right-hander Erik Swanson (0-1, 3.38 ERA) made his first major league start Wednesday, and despite recording the loss, was outstanding in his debut.

The 25-year-old rookie completed six innings, allowing just one run on two hits, while striking out five. He threw 81 pitches, including 50 for strikes.

“Erik Swanson was outstanding,” Servais said. “Really in control from the first batter he faced. Just nice rhythm with all of his pitches. Obviously his fastball has got a little life, a little hop to it. Getting it by some guys.

“But, worked in a good changeup, slider. Second time through the order, continued to mix it up. Really a bright spot there.”

Swanson was effective with his elevated fastball, worked 1-2-3 innings in the first, third, fourth and sixth, and never faced more than four batters in any frame.

“I’m very fastball aggressive, and that was the game plan going into it, and stuck with it,” Swanson said.

The only meaningful mistake Swanson made came in the fifth when Jake Bauers cranked a 3-2 fastball 406 feet over the fence in center field. The only other hit Swanson allowed was a two-out single to Bauers in the second.

“A little bit higher is where I wanted it,” Swanson said. “But, the count, I kind of couldn’t throw it too far out of the zone as a non-competitive pitch, because otherwise he’s just going to look at it.”

Swanson, the No. 9 prospect in Seattle’s organization, came to Seattle this offseason in the James Paxton deal with the New York Yankees.

He was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Sunday to take over the No. 4 spot in the Mariners’ starting rotation this week in place of injured left-hander Wade LeBlanc (oblique).

2. STRIKEOUTS PILE UP

The Mariners continue to lead the majors in strikeouts, piling up 197 through their first 21 games. They average more than nine per game.

During the six-game homestand, Seattle recorded double-digit strikeouts in five of six games, including registering 14 more in Wednesday’s loss. Eight of the 10 batters who appeared for the Mariners struck out at least once in the finale against the Indians.

“Part of the strikeout jump is certainly the quality of stuff that we have faced,” Servais said. “Three of those guys (Houston’s Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer) are the leaders in strikeouts in our league. But, it has that little carryover effect here the last few days, and we’ve got to do a better job, certainly.

“It’s hard to survive. You’re not going to win many ballgames when you strike out 13, 14 times. You’ve got to get the ball in play and allow some things to happen offensively.”

Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco (2-2, 7.41 ERA) earned the win Wednesday, stumping Seattle’s offense. He worked a complete seven innings, allowing just the three hits while striking out 12 and walking two. He threw 108 pitches.

He struck out the side in three separate innings, and fanned Jay Bruce in three straight plate appearances, and Domingo Santana and Omar Narvaez each twice.

“He was throwing all of his pitches well, in the zone, with some really nasty shadows behind him,” Mariners third baseman Ryon Healy said. “Tough to pick up spin out of hand initially, so a couple pitches that maybe we miss throughout the lineup, that maybe normally we don’t.”

3. STREAK OVER

Wednesday’s shutout was the first of the season for the Mariners, and also meant the end of their historic home run streak.

Healy nearly extended the streak in the second, when he hit a solo shot to left that initially appeared to wrap around the foul pole. But, it was ruled a foul ball on replay review.

“Home runs are nice,” Servais said. “We’ve been riding that train a little bit too, and that dried up today as well.”

Seattle hit at least one home run in each of its first 20 games, the longest streak to open a season in MLB history, passing the 2002 Cleveland Indians (14 games).

Twelve Mariners contributed to the streak, including Bruce (eight home runs), Daniel Vogelbach (six), Edwin Encarnacion (five), Mitch Haniger (five), Tim Beckham (four), Santana (four), Healy (three), Narvaez (three), Dee Gordon (one), Dylan Moore (one), Tom Murphy (one) and Mallex Smith (one).

The 20-game streak is the second longest at any point in club history. The 2013 Mariners once hit homers in 23 consecutive games.

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