Just when it appears the Mariners' offense cannot continue to sink, it does.
Seattle just finished being swept by Baltimore, and it lost 5-4 at Cleveland on Friday to run its losing streak to six games. During the putrid stretch, the Mariners have scored 15 runs.
Last season's record-setting ineptitude at the plate is being challenged again this year. The Mariners' second-leading home run hitter, Ryan Langherans, was outrighted to the minors earlier in the week. Six of the nine players in the Mariners' starting lineup Friday came in hitting .227 or less.
The team's inability to hit was exemplified by Friday's cleanup hitter, Jack Cust, who is hitting .222. He has zero home runs in 117 at-bats.
Cust came into Friday a career .462 hitter against Cleveland starter Fausto Carmona, and he went 2-for-4 night against the right-hander. He struck out in his first at-bat, grounded out, doubled and singled into space left open by a shift.
Things have become so difficult for Cust that a Seattle-based sports talk radio station has begun a pool for listeners challenging them to pick the date when Cust will hit a homer. The winner receives a $50 gift certificate.
Youngsters Justin Smoak and Carlos Peguero showed some pop Friday, each hitting a home run. But the Mariners are saddled with a roster that has veterans like Chone Figgins (.221) and young players like Michael Saunders (.171) wilting at the plate.
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