However, if you're looking for a positive to take out of this game, Clay Buchholz pitched pretty brilliantly aside from a hiccup in the fourth inning.
With the win, the Mariners improve their record to 66-70, while the Red Sox fall to 12 games under .500 and 62-74. Jason Vargas (14-9) picks up the win, Buchholz (11-5) gets saddled with the loss and Tom Wilhelmsen picks up his 23rd save of the season.
Well, that's it for us from your Red Sox Live Blog. Stick with NESN and NESN.com right now for all the postgame action, and be sure to check back right here for another edition of the live blog tomorrow, with first pitch scheduled for 10:10 p.m. ET as the Red Sox try to finally steal a game on the left coast.
And, as always, follow this live blogger on Twitter at @ZachStoloff to chat Red Sox and all things MLB.
End 8th, Mariners 4-1: That felt like a very long half inning considering that no runs were scored.
In any case, the Red Sox go down to their final at-bat trailing by three runs they'll need to make up if they plan to snap their six-game losing streak and capture their first game on this west coast swing.
So, on to the ninth! With the red Sox down 4-1.
Mid 8th, Mariners 4-1: One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between an analytical baseball fan and your typical blowhard is when they question the effort of the players. Despite the projected emotions of some fans, it's just so rarely accurate to ever say a player or a team has "quit" — Manny Ramirez might be an example of the rare exception. Professional athletes generally have too much pride for that.
All that being said, it's undeniable that the Red Sox have looked increasingly listless as their West Coast losing streak has progressed. So, credit Pedroia for trying to creat some energy on the field and doing everything he can to spur on the team.
End 7th, Mariners 4-1: After 109 pitches, it's a safe assumption that Buchholz is done for the night. And, despite the fact that he's on the hook to lose this one, the Red Sox really owe their newfound ace a debt of gratitude.
Buchholz becomes the first pitcher since Jon Lester's eight-inning complete game agains the Angels in Anaheim to get out of the fourth inning. In fact, this outing was mostly just vintage Buchholz, as the right-hander yielded just six hits and struck out eight in his seven innings of work.
It was just one inning, with Buchholz giving up four runs in the fourth, that hurt the Red Sox starter. Throw out that one frame, and Buchholz was as dominant as ever.
Mid 7th, Mariners 4-1: The Red Sox get their first look at Ivan De Jesus there, who grounds out to shortstop to end the inning.
The 25-year-old infielder has had minimal time in the major leagues with the Dodgers, earning just 65 at-bats over the past two seasons and hitting .231. He's been a pretty consistent bat throughout his minor league career, however. Nothing spectacular, with an OPS of .760 over the course of eight seasons, but it does suggest he could manage to stick around as a backup infielder.
End 6th, Mariners 4-1: So, apparently just down the road from us at the TPC Boston, Rory McIlroy is about to capture the Deutsche Bank Championship.
If the 23-year-old can hold on for the victory on the 18th hole, it would mark the third win for the Irish golfer in 2012, including the PGA Championship just last month. It stands to reason that McIlroy would be the frontrunner for PGA Tour player of the year now, owning one more victory than Tiger Woods, and, of course, that major in his back pocket.
The youngster is a bit more prone to ups-and-downs than Woods was at a similar age — McIlroy's blowup at the 2011 Masters won't be soon forgotten — but might actually be a better player when he's on his game. Scary thought for the rest of professional golf.
Mid 6th, Mariners 4-1: Yet again, the Red Sox are doing little to make Vargas uncomfortable out there on the hill or interrupt his gameplan.
Rather, Vargas is thoroughly in a rhythm on the hill. Pedroia might have given a reasonable effort to throw a monkey wrench his way by stealing second, but the lefty is now through six innings having yielded just five hits and no walks. That's two runs yielded in 14 innings pitched against the Red Sox this year for Vargas.
End 5th, Mariners 4-1: It's no secret that after dumping about $260 million worth of future payroll commitments, the Red Sox are going to have some money to spend this offseason.
Given the "disciplined" approach that general manager Ben Cherington has professed, it remains to be seen how the Sox actually spend that money, and what free agents they deem worthy of the investment, but NESN.com has a few ideas to bounce around.
Follow this link to check out a photo gallery featuring a number of free agents the Sox could pursue this winter.
Mid 5th, Mariners 4-1: Well, we're halfway through this one, and thus far it looks like the game may be on a similar trajectory to Vargas' last time out on the hill against the Sox.
Once again, Vargas looks to be settling into a rhythm against the Boston hitters, who aren't doing much of anything to break up his pace or gameplan. Vargas doesn't have the stuff to execute complex pitch sequences, he's mostly just getting early-count strikes and putting the Sox hitters in a hole.
End 4th, Mariners 4-1: Ah, well, there's the Murphy's Law in action that Red Sox Nation has come to expect in 2012. Suffice to say that inning got away from the BoSox a bit there. It's one thing to see a pitcher hit around, but it feels a bit more painful to watch a team kick the ball around a little bit.
Nonetheless, Iglesias made up for his miscue, for the first time since he was called up from Pawtucket showing the glove that we have heard so much about. That was a pretty sweet turn by the young shortstop, showing some amazing, soft hands.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 1-0: If you're superstitious, this is usually the kind of thing you're not supposed to say, but as an objective journalist, let's just go ahead and mention it.
Thus far the game is just flying along, which is the kind of result you can expect in a pitching-dominat game.
Ironically, Buchholz is actually among the slowest pitchers in baseball in terms of time taken between pitches (former Red Sox Josh Beckett and Erik Bedard are also up there), so we'll see if the trend hold up, but right now the game certainly has a nice pace to it.
End 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: That's seven in a row put down by Buchholz, who continues to make a compelling case for ace status heading into 2013. Is it too early to tab the 27-year-old for an opening day start next season?
Aside from that, nothing too fancy from the right-hander, who's just living off the fastball and not trying to be too fine with location. With the Mariners lineup, a pitcher can get away with more mistakes than usual, a fact further aided by SafeCo Field's cavernous dimensions.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: If you happen to be watching the NESN telecast, Jerry Remy just pointed out something out Ciriaco this live blogger finds very relevant.
Coming into the game, Ciriaco's strikeout to walk ratio is 31-3, which is plainly unacceptable from a player trying to play his way into a regular role for 2013 and beyond. Basically, the ratio would indicate poor pitch recognition in general, beyond a general aggressive approach at the plate, meaning it's going to be very difficult for Ciriaco to maintain his success once the scouting report on him makes its way through the league.
It likely already has.
End 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: So, through two innings Buchholz looks pretty solid. Not that it's necessarily difficult to look good pitching against Seattle.
Nonetheless, the key for Buchholz today is going to be very simple, just sticking to the gameplan, pitch off the fastball and let the Mariners get themselves out.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Say it with me now, all in unison:
"He plays the game the right way."
So oft-repeated is that phrasing about Pedroia that it almost feels like a cliche at this point. However, in this bizarre season and amidst all the strife, it's been very heartening to see the not-quite 4-foot-9 second baseman continue to play hard every night and sacrifice himself even though the team isn't contending in 2012.
Going forward, Pedroia's clearly going to be a big piece of the puzzle as the Red Sox try to turn it around, as his day-to-day example is integral for setting the tone of the ballclub.
End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: So, we've already seen him for one inning, but looking into the other dugout, what to expect from Jason Vargas tonight?
Well, suffice to say Vargas doesn't have the litany of pitches that Buchholz does. The lefty features a modest fastball, a cutter and his best pitch is probably his changeup. When he dominated the Red Sox earlier this year, Vargas largely kept the Sox off balance by working both sides of the blate and effectively mixing his pitches.
Having seen him just a couple months ago, however, that's going to be harder to do for Vargas a second time around, as the southpaw isn't big on deception.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Well, well, well. It's a role reversal in Seattle.
For once, mercifully, it's the Red Sox who get on the board early, as Ross drives in Pedroia to give the Sox an early 1-0 lead.
Aside from that, what to expect from Clay Buchholz today? The 27-year-old right hander's biggest weapon is the number of pitches he can throw for strikes, and he'll be featuring two fastballs — of the four and two-seam variety — a curveball, changeup and a cutter. He also has several different actions on the curveball and slider, so when he's on hitters have a really tough time sitting on any pitch against Buchholz.
4:10 p.m.: We have first pitch! And for those wondering, the gametime temperature in Seattle is 67 degrees with 56 percent humidity and winds from the northwest at seven miles per hour.
3:15 p.m.: Yet again, the Red Sox look to be letting a few of the unproven, younger players take their hacks on the afternoon, giving starts to Pedro Ciriaco — who's really become an everyday player at this point — Mauro Gomez, Ryan Lavarnway, Ryan Kalish and Jose Iglesias.
The lineup undoubtedly looks much, much different than anything the Red Sox probably expected they'd use in the spring. But in the final month of the season and 11 games under the .500 mark, no one should really be surprised by anything at this point. It's been a bizarre season, suffice to say.
Nonetheless, it's time for some evaluation of the younger players, to see what they have to offer for 2013 and beyond.
As for the Mariners, it's not just that their lineup lacks star power, but it really lacks any power at all, ranking 27th in Major League Baseball in runs scored.
Check out the lineups for both teams below:
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Cody Ross, RF
Mauro Gomez, 1B
Ryan Lavarnway, C
Mike Aviles, DH
Ryan Kalish, LF
Jose Iglesias, SS
Clay Buchholz, P
Dustin Ackley , 2B
Franklin Gutierrez, CF
Kyle Seager, 3B
John Jaso, DH
Justin Smoak, 1B
Eric Thames, RF
Miguel Olivo, C
Carlos Peguero, LF
Brendan Ryan, SS
Jason Vargas, P
8 a.m. ET: There's no sense tiptoeing around it. The Boston Red Sox' (62-73) starting pitching has been awful throughout the course of this nine-game West Coast swing.
Ever since Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched seven innings of one-run ball a week ago last Monday in a matinee game against the Kansas City Royals, the only halfway decent efforts the rotation has provided were via Jon Lester (an eight-inning, complete-game loss) and Clay Buchholz (seven innings of four-run ball), both against the Angels.
However, the rest of the starters on this trip — Zach Stewart, Aaron Cook, Felix Doubront and Daisuke Matsuzaka — were all lit up in succession. None made it out of the fourth inning, and they put a huge amount of stress on the bullpen in the process.
So the Sox turn to their best pitcher, Buchholz (11-4, 4.50 ERA), to try to turn around the rotation's fortunes in one of the best pitcher's parks in Major League Baseball as Boston takes on the Seattle Mariners (65-70) at SafeCo Field. The 27-year-old Red Sox right-hander will be opposed by Jason Vargas (13-9, 3.90), who largely dominated Boston in Seattle on July 1, throwing eight innings while yielding just five hits, two walks and a single run in a 2-1 Mariners victory.
First pitch is scheduled for a Labor Day special at 4:10 p.m. ET, but you can tune into NESN beginning at 2:30 p.m. for Monster Monday. You can also stick right here with NESN.com, as this very live blog will have the starting lineups and, as Vin Scully would say, "all the stats and stories" in the hours leading up to Vargas' first toss of the afternoon.
And, as always, follow this live blogger at @ZachStoloff to chat Red Sox and all things MLB.