HOUSTON — With each defeat, the number of games and chances for an improbable run diminishes and the Mariners’ hopes of playing in the postseason fade just a little more.
Following Saturday afternoon’s 8-6 loss to the Astros, Seattle, now 74-75 on the season, has 13 games remaining in the season. The obituary of the Mariners’ 2017 season hasn’t been written, but it’s being outlined.
Not only would it take them winning at least eight or nine of those 13 games to even have an outside chance, but it would also require the Twins and Angels to both start losing at a significant rate.
That’s difficult to see happening, particularly following yet another loss to the Astros. The Mariners have now lost five in a row to Houston and face right-hander Justin Verlander to close out the road trip and the season series. Perhaps the best thing is for the Mariners is that they won’t play the Astros again this season. They are 5-13 vs. Houston this season and it is easy to wonder how they won those five games against a team that has seemed so superior to them and just about everyone else in the American League.
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“That’s a tough team,” manager Scott Servais said quietly postgame.
The Astros got a solid start from staff ace Dallas Keuchel and roughed up Mariners starter Erasmo Ramirez for four runs in the second inning to take control of the game early.
Ramirez saw his streak of six consecutive starts of six innings pitched or more came to an end, pitching four innings and allowing six runs on eight hits with three walks and five strikeouts. It was largely due to that second inning where he threw needed 33 pitches and faced all nine Astros hitters.
“He’s that happen a couple of times where he will fall off the rails a little bit,” Servais said. “His command and stuff wasn’t sharp in that second inning. He hung in there, but it was obviously not his best outing for us. He walked a few more guys more than normal, left a few balls up in the zone and just wasn’t able to work his way through their lineup.”
Perhaps most frustrating for Ramirez and the Mariners is that all the damage came with two outs. After giving up a leadoff single and a walk to start the frame, Ramirez came back and struck out Brian McCann and got Yuli Gurriel to fly out.
“We were a pitch away from getting out of that mess,” Servais said. “But they put good at-bats on…