- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot blogger
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On Sunday afternoon in Seattle, Mariners closer Brandon League entered in the top of the ninth of a tie game. He pitched a 1-2-3 ninth but gave up RBI doubles to Alexei Ramirez and Adam Dunn in the 10th, and the Mariners lost 5-2. He'd been pretty much perfect before that game: no record, and a perfect nine-for-nine in save chances.
LeagueTuesday in Baltimore, the Mariners scored a run in the 13th inning to take a 6-5 lead. League gave up four singles and lost 7-6.
Thursday night was a thrilling 0-0 game (note sarcasm in "thrilling") until the 12th, when Seattle broke through with a run. League came on, gave up a single, hit two batters, got a line drive out and then surrendered a two-run single to J.J. Hardy and the Mariners lost 2-1.
Friday night, Eric Wedge again called upon League, to protect a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth in Cleveland. Michael Brantley doubled. Carlos Peguero misplayed Asdrubal Cabrera's fly ball into a double. League should have been out of the inning after getting the next two batters, but instead had to face Travis Hafner. Boom. Home run. Indians win 5-4.
Brandon League appeared in four games this week and lost them all. Has a major league pitcher ever had a worse week?
Anthony Young, who holds the major league record with 27 consecutive defeats, had 13 of those occur in relief. But that happened over two seasons, and he never lost four appearances in a row, let alone in one week. The reliever with the most consecutive losing decisions is another Met -- Skip Lockwood, who lost his final 10 decisions of 1978 and his first four of 1979. Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley once lost 12 straight decisions from 1995 to 1997 (he was 0-6 in 1996). The Mariners are used to this kind of thing: David Aardsma, last year's closer, went 0-6 and is currently on a nine-game losing streak. (Twenty-four relievers, including Lockwood, Young and Eck have lost at least 10 decisions in a row in relief.)
But four losses in one calendar week? Four in a five-game span?
A week ago the Mariners were 16-17 and M's fans actually started believing, just a little bit. Now Seattle is 16-23 and it looks like a long summer ahead.