Bats have gone silent during skid

Bats have gone silent during skid

MINNEAPOLIS -- After erupting for their highest scoring game of the season in Monday's 12-5 runaway win over the Rays, Seattle's bats have gone silent in four straight losses.

In the final two games of the Rays series in Seattle and first two of the Twins set at Target Field, the Mariners averaged just two runs a game while batting .181 with 10 walks and 32 strikeouts.

Most troublesome of all, the club went 1-for-26 (.038) with runners in scoring position, which spelled all the difference in four games when their opponents won 2-1, 2-0, 5-4 and 4-3.

Timely hitting is crucial for any team, and the Mariners batted .302 (45-for-149) with runners in scoring position during the stretch where they went 13-5 from April 23 to May 12.

"It's a matter of relaxing and understanding the pressure is on the pitcher, and the most important thing you have to do is get a pitch to hit and then put a good swing on it," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Then whatever happens after that, happens. A lot of times, young hitters have no plan and they expand [their strike zone] and they put all the pressure on themselves. And it should be just the opposite."

The common theme among the Mariners players is that hitting is contagious, and they just need a big hit or two in key situations to get everyone to relax again.

"I feel like everyone is on the verge of contributing like we should be doing, but all we can do is keep working hard, keep grinding and stay confident out there," said rookie center fielder James Jones, who has been one of the few consistent players in the recent stretch with an eight-game hitting streak.

For the season, the Mariners were hitting .248 with runners in scoring position entering Sunday, which is actually better than their .231 overall batting average. With their recent slump, the Mariners have fallen below the Astros and now rank last in the American League in batting average and on-base percentage (.293). They're 14th in slugging percentage at .370, one spot above the Royals (.356).

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.