Happ's run of hard luck continues
ANAHEIM -- J.A. Happ wasn't perfect in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Angels, but the Mariners' veteran lefty seemingly deserves a better fate than four straight losses and six weeks since his last victory.
Happ has posted a 3.87 ERA and been a steady presence on the mound in his first season with Seattle, but after a 3-1 start, he's now fallen to 3-5 and frustration is mounting.
"I was feeling great," Happ said after allowing just five hits with six strikeouts in his seven-inning outing. "I felt like I was making pitches pretty much all day. I'm sick of saying I'm frustrated to you guys. I'm sick of being frustrated. But I felt good today and I feel like if I stay right there, things are going to turn."
After surrendering a two-run homer to Kole Calhoun, the second batter of the game, Happ retired 18 straight -- if you include David Freese getting thrown out trying to stretch a double in the fourth -- and kept his team in the game until the Angels tacked on two more in the seventh on a Mike Trout double an intentional walk to Albert Pujols, a walk to Freese, a ground-ball RBI single by Johnny Giavotella and a high-chopped groundout to short that forced in the fourth run.
"I felt like I was making pitches, getting ahead of guys," said Happ. "That's a big thing for me. Even in that seventh, I thought I made a good pitch to Trout and he put a good swing on it. After that, they manufactured a few runs, but I still felt good. I have to feel good about today. I can't be down about that."
The Mariners haven't helped out Happ any, as they've totaled just six runs in his last five starts. He came into the game with the sixth-lowest average run support in the American League, and Saturday's two runs change that trend.
"I thought he attacked guys really well," said catcher Mike Zunino. "The biggest thing is he threw the cutter a lot more backdoor, threw it in to righties. He threw that pitch really well and followed it up with a changeup and kept them off balance. We just weren't able to score any runs early for him and that seventh inning, there were a couple choppers that drove some runs in and things just didn't go our way. Sometimes that happens, but I thought he threw the ball extremely well today."
Other than an elevated fastball to Calhoun, it was a strong outing.
"I can't expect to be perfect, and I don't think anybody expects me to be perfect," Happ said. "I'm going to make mistakes, guys are going to hit the ball. At some point, it's going to be OK. We're going to be fine. It just seems like lately it's been tough."