The steadiest arm in the Seattle rotation belongs to Felix Hernandez.
Even after a 5-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, his record is 7-8, not bad for a team that is 33 games under .500.
And his 3.23 ERA is in the top 10 in the American League, so it's not as if he's been pitching poorly.
But a season of high expectations has morphed into a season of extreme frustration, and that's true even for Hernandez, who gave up five runs in five innings.
"Inside, it's different," Hernandez said. "But all I can do is pitch the way I know I can pitch. We've been really struggling. We've been trying too hard.
"I've been trying too hard. I tried too hard tonight. I made some good pitches at times, but they hit some of them."
WHITE SOX 5, MARINERS 0: Felix Hernandez allowed five runs in a start for the first time in almost three months, and the hot Mariners were cooled down quickly by White Sox rookie Clayton Richard.
Richard pitched six shutout innings en route to his first big-league victory, giving up five hits, including three doubles.
Seattle had runners at the corners with no outs in the first, but Raul Ibanez, the team's RBI leader, grounded into a double play at the plate thanks to a nice defensive play by Chicago first baseman Nick Swisher, and Seattle's offense stalled.
The Mariners, who had 10 or more hits in seven of the previous eight games, had just seven hits this time.
--LF Raul Ibanez had two hits, a double and a single, and boosted his average for the month to .437 (31-for-71). He has 21 RBIs for the month, which ranks second in the AL.
--RHP Felix Hernandez gave up five runs in five innings against Chicago. It was the first time in 13 starts that Hernandez had given up as many as five runs. In seven of his previous 12 starts, he'd allowed two or fewer runs.
--RHP R.A. Dickey, who was relegated to the bullpen last week, will return to the rotation Wednesday. He's taking the spot of RHP Carlos Silva, who went on the disabled list Saturday.
--LHP Erik Bedard had been scheduled to throw off a mound for the first time in almost two months on Aug. 23. But pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said he thought it was likely that Bedard would need a little extra time.
--LF Jeremy Reed has hit in 14 of his last 15 games, going 22-for-60 (.367) since July 29. However, the Mariners have faced left-handed starters three consecutive games, so the left-handed Reed has been on the bench for all three.
--SS Yuniesky Betancourt had a nine-game hitting streak snapped when he went hitless in three at-bats.
BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- The Mariners scored three runs Friday, all without the benefit of an RBI. It was only the second time in club history the team had scored three or more runs without the benefit of an RBI. Two runs scored on a Twins' throwing error and the other on a double play grounder.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "There's been five weeks' worth of games just like that." -- Manager Jim Riggleman, after Saturday's bottom-of-the-ninth loss to Minnesota.
RHP Carlos Silva (right elbow tendinitis) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 17.
INF/OF Willie Bloomquist (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 10.
LHP Erik Bedard (sore left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 5. He was unable to throw July 21, but an MRI the next day showed the same impingement he has had. He started throwing again in early August, but he might not be back with the Mariners before September.
RF Mike Morse (dislocated left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list April 14. He had surgery April 22 and probably won't play again this season.