Comeback winners Wednesday, the Mariners (15-18, third AL West) enjoyed their first day off since April 23 Thursday, but spent it flying to New York City to begin a three-game series against the Yankees Friday.
Game #34 will not only launch a 10-day, 10-game road trip, but a 20-day stretch of 20 games. The club will not have another day off until June 7.
After the Mariners play three with the Yankees (Friday-Sunday), they will play two in Boston (Mondayt-Tuesday), two in Cleveland (May 16-17) and three in Colorado (May 18-20) before returning to Safeco Field for three against AL West rival Texas (May 21-23).
The Mariners have not won a series in New York since 2002 nor one in Boston since 2009. Seattle had a 4-2 edge at Cleveland last year, but haven’t taken a series at Colorado since 2001.
Felix Hernandez will make his seventh start Friday. Hernandez last pitched May 5 at Safeco Field and crushed the Minnesota Twins, 7-0, improving to 3-1, 1.89 ERA. Hernandez is 3-0 at the new Yankee Stadium with an 0.38 ERA. Hernandez will oppose Hiroki Kuroda, 37-year-old righthander who is 2-4, 3.75.
Hector Noesi, coming off his best outing of the season, pitches Saturday, but manager Eric Wedge said it’s a “longshot” that Blake Beavan will make his scheduled start Sunday against Andy Pettitte, who is making his 2012 debut at 40, having not pitched in 2011.
Beavan came out of Monday’s game after he took a line drive off his pitching elbow from the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera.
“I’m going to do everything I can to try to get back,” Beavan said. “But I don’t want to come back if I’m not 100 percent because that wouldn’t be good for the team. It’s something you don’t want to rush if it’s serious, but if I can go and it’s 100 percent, then I’m going to go. We just have to go day by day.”
With the day off Thursday, Wedge is likely to use Kevin Millwood Sunday and Jason Vargas Monday since both would pitch on regular rest. Wedge also has starting options in long reliever Hisashi Iwakuma or one of the starters at AAA Tacoma.
Although the Mariners have won five of their 10 series, they are, after 33 games, almost a statistical copy of the 2011 Mariners, who went on to lose 95 games.
This year’s Mariners have hit 27 homers (to 17 at this point last year), but have outscored the 2011 Mariners by just two runs. That’s because walks are down and strikeouts are up (Michael Saunders is on a 162-strikeout pace, which would be the fifth-highest, single-season total in club history).
The 2012 Mariners also have one less win and one more loss after 33 games than the 2011 club. How the 2011 and 2012 Mariners compare:
Reliving A Nightmare?
|Games||33||33||In 2011, M’s started 6-game losing in Game #34|
|AB||1083||1111||20 more ABs in ’12 despite getting “perfect-oed”|
|Runs||123||125||Just 2 more runs in ’12 despite 10 more homers|
|Hits||252||260||Ichiro 42 hits after 33 in ’11, 39 after 33 in ’12|
|Doubles||54||58||Smoak has one double in 110 at-bats|
|Triples||2||5||2012 Mariners rank 8th in American League|
|Home Runs||17||27||2012: Seager 4, Saunders 4, Montero 4|
|Walks||122||88||2012: Ryan batting .157 but leads club in BBs (14)|
|Strikeouts||240||246||Saunders (33), Smoak (28), Figgins (28) have 89|
|GDP||12||22||2012: Smoak, Ichiro tied with four apiece|
|Bat Avg.||.233||.234||Ranked 14th in AL in 2011, ranks 13th in 2012|
|OBP||.310||.289||Ranked 14th in AL in 2011, ranks 14th in 2012|
|Slugging||.333||.368||Ranked 14th in AL in 2011, ranks 12th in 2012|
|OPS||.643||.658||Ranked 14th in AL in 2011, ranks 13th in 2012|
|Record||16-17||15-18||2011 Mariners went on to lose 95 (67-95)|