GAME: Mariners (3-1, 1st AL West, 0.0 GB) at Rangers (2-1, 2nd AL West, 0.5 GB). GAME #: 5. SERIES: 1st of 4 games. MEETING (2012): 1st. WHEN: Monday, 5:05 p.m, PT, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. PROBABLE PITCHERS: RHP Hector Noesi (Seattle, 2-2, 4.47) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (Texas, MLB debut). STREAKS: Mariners W 2; Rangers W 1. TV: ROOT Sports, MLB TV. RADIO: KIRO 710 (Seattle), Mariners Radio Network).
The Mariners (3-1), who lost 15 of 19 games to the Texas Rangers in 2011, get their first look at Japanese import Yu Darvish, and may not like what they see if the numbers that Darvish, Texas’ $110 million offseason acquisition, posted in Japan and spring training translate into the regular season.
While pitching in Japan’s Pacific League, Darvish won three strikeout titles and two ERA crowns. In 15 spring training innings, Darvish held opponents to a .226 batting average.
“He fits right in,” said catcher Mike Napoli. “He has that personality of wanting to have fun and just be a part of this team. I see him being a good pitcher. He has the stuff and the mentality to get it done. You still have to go out there and do it. But he definitely has the stuff and the ability.”
Darvish made his final Cactus League start Friday against a Colorado lineup that included Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Todd Helton and Michael Cuddyer. Darvish fanned 11 in six innings, allowing six hits and a walk.
MARINERS: RHP Hector Noesi (2-2, 4.47 ERA, 1.509 WHIP)
In his second major league season, and first with the Mariners, Noesi, 25, is making his first start of the 2012 season and second of his career against the Rangers.
A native of Esperanza, Valverde, Dominican Republic, the 6-3, 200-pound Noesi was signed as an amateur free agent by the New York Yankees in 2004.
Noesi made his major league debut May 18, 2011, against the Baltimore Orioles. The fifth Yankees reliever that day, he collected the win by working four innings, during which he allowed four hits, no runs and fanned four.
Noesi became a Mariner Jan. 23 when he was traded by the Yankees, along with Jesus Montero, to Seattle for Jose Campos (minors) and Michael Pineda, an All-Star starter for the Mariners in 2011.
Noesi, who appeared in 30 games for the Yankees in 2011, making two starts, brings a career record of 4-4, 4.47 ERA and 1.5 WHIP into the game.
This will be Noesis career third start in a regular season game.
- 2012: Noesi made three starts during spring training, pitching 12 innings, but earned a spot in the Seattle rotation by producing a 1.50 ERA and a .222 opponent batting average. He had five strikeouts.
- LAST START: Noesi started against the Tampa Bay Rays Sept. 26, 2011, absorbing a 5-2 loss; allowed three earned runs on five hits, facing 12 batters in 2 innings (in his final spring training start April 12, Noesi earned the win by allowing one run on seven hits in a spring-high 7 IP).
- LAST VS. RANGERS: Took over for Brian Gordon June 16, 2011, in what became a 3-2 New York win; faced six batters and threw 18 pitches, issuing one intentional walk.
- CAREER VS. RANGERS: See above.
- AT RANGERS BALLPARK: First game.
- LOVES TO FACE (limited exposure): Adrian Beltre (0-for-1, .000 BA), Ian Kinsler (0-for-1, .000 BA), Michael Young (0-for-1, .000 BA).
- HATES TO FACE: Elvis Andrus (1-for-1, 1.000 BA, 1 2B)).
RANGERS: RHP Yu Darvish (major league debut)
A native of Habikino, Osaka, Japan, the 6-5, 215-pound Darvish signed with the Rangers Dec. 19, after a record posting fee of $51.7 million and a $60 million contract over six years.
Darvish, 25, pitched for Japans Hokkaido Nippon Ham from 2007 through 2011, compiling a record of 72-28 with a 1.72 ERA. Darvish is a two-time Pacific League Most Valuable Player (2007, 2009), a three-time strikeout champion (2007, 2010-11), a two-time ERA champion (2009-10) and a two-time Gold Glove winner (2007-08).
Darvish, who played in five NPB All-Star Games, pitched for Japan in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Darvish attracted the attention of major league clubs in 2004, when the Anaheim Angels and Atlanta Braves scouted him extensively. The Mets and Dodgers also showed interest.
Darvish became Japans highest-paid player before the start of the 2011 season when he agreed to a contract worth slightly more than $6 million U.S.
In 2011, Darvish opened by allowing seven runs in seven innings, but after that did not allow more than three runs in any start. He had a streak of 13 wins in 14 decisions. He finished with 18 wins in a season that featured a career-low 1.44 ERA. He led the league with 28 starts, 232 innings, 276 strikeouts and a 0.82 WHIP.
Darvish showed remarkable location, walking only 36 batters.
Darvishs parents met at Eckerd College, a liberal arts school in St. Petersburg, FL., where his father played for the college soccer team.
Mariners 8, Athletics 7
AT OAKLAND (April 7): Chone Figgins finished a home run short of the cycle and every Mariners starter had a hit, overcoming a shaky outing from Felix Hernandez and a late rally, to beat the Oakland Athletics 8-7.
Figgins’ two-run double off Bartolo Colon (1-1) highlighted a six-run fourth — helped by center fielder Yoenis Cespedes , who misplayed a ball earlier in the inning — to give Seattle a 7-0 lead. Ichiro also had two hits and an RBI and Kyle Seager singled twice as the Mariners took the season-opening series 3-1.
“They’ve all been tough ballgames, and different types of ballgames. I think that’s a good indicator for us,” manager Eric Wedge said.
Cespedes atoned for his bobble with a three-run homer against reliever Steve Delabar, the third long ball in four games against the Mariners by the Cuban defector.
Hernandez (1-0) gave up six runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings, striking out seven and walking one. Brandon League pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save, one of four Seattle relievers to hold off Oakland’s comeback.
The Mariners sent 10 batters to the plate during the six-run inning.
AL WEST STANDINGS
MARINERS / STATS NOTES
- The Rangers and Mariners met 19 times in 2011, Texas taking 15 and outscoring Seattle.
- RHP Felix Hernandez celebrated his 26th birthday Sunday. Counting Saturday’s start at Oakland, Hernandez made 207 starts before turning 26.
- Jesus Montero has started each of Seattle’s first four games at DH. The franchise record for starts by a rookie DH is 52, set by Juan Bernhardt in the Mariners inaugural year, 1977.
- 18 of the Mariners first 27 games will be played on the road (and 28 of first 43). The Mariners will have logged eight road games before playing a game at Safeco Field.
- According to Stats Inc., the Mariners had an average age of 28.33 when the Opening Day rosters were set. That’s the second-youngest American League roster and the fourth-youngest in the majors.
- According to USA Today, the Mariners have the 18th-highest payroll in the majors, at just under $82 million. That’s down from just over $94 million in 2011. Of the $82 million, Felix Hernandez, Ichiro, Chone Figgins, Franklin Gutierrez and Brandon League take up slightly more than $58 million of the total (the Yankees have baseball’s top payroll for the 14th consecutive year, $198 million).
- Outfielders Mike Carp (shoulder) and Franklin Gutierrez (torn pectoral muscle) will be re-evaluated Monday.
- Munenori Kawasaki ‘s RBI single in the fourth inning Saturday was hit first major league hit. He replaced SS Brendan Ryan, a late scratch because of a stiff neck.
- Through four games, the Mariners are 10-for-27 (.370) with runners in scoring position.
- Series record: Won 1, Split 0, Lost 0.
MARINERS WON-LOSS BREAKDOWN
|Rec.||Home||Road||Day||Night||vs. RHP||vs. LHP||Hit HR||No HR|
MARINERS BATTING PROFILE
MARINERS PITCHING PROFILE
|4/10||Tue||at Tex||Beavan (0-0) vs. Feliz (0-0, 0.00)|
|4/11||Tue||at Tex||Millwood (0-0) vs. Lewis (0-0, 0.00)|
|4/12||Tue||at Tex||Vargas (0-0, 1.42) vs. Holland (0-0, 0.00)|
MARINERS 2012 SCHEDULE/RESULTS
|Gm.#||Date||Opp.||W/L||Rec.||Win / Loss|
|1||3/28||at Oak||W, 3-1||1-0||W: Wilhelmsen (1-0); L: Carignan (0-1)|
|2||3/29||at Oak||L, 4-1||1-1||W: Colon (1-0); L: Kelley (0-1)|
|Gm. #||Date||Opp.||W/L||Rec.||Win / Loss|
|3||4/6||at Oak||W, 7-3||2-1||W: Vargas (1-0); L: McCarthy (0-1)|
|4||4/7||at Oak||W, 8-7||3-1||W: Hernandez (1-0); L: Colon (1-1)|