GAME: Astros (1-6, 4th, AL West, -4.0 GB) at Mariners (4-4, 3rd, AL West, -1.5 GB)). GAME #: 9. SERIES: 2nd of 3 games. MEETING: 2nd (Mariners lead 1-0). WHEN: Tuesday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners W 1; Astros L 6. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
A little more than five years ago, Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi swapped five players, including top prospect Adam Jones, to the Baltimore Orioles for Erik Bedard, then a coveted left hander. In part because Bedard couldn’t stay healthy, he was never more than a .500 pitcher for the Mariners. Jones has twice been an All-Star since exiting Seattle.
At the trading deadline in 2011, Bavasi’s successor, Jack Zduriencik, in a three-team (Red Sox, Dodgers) deal, sent Bedard to Boston along with Josh Fields and got back AAA outfielder Trayvon Robinson (from L.A.) and AA outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang (Boston).
After Robinson hit just .215 in 90 games for Seattle (2011-12), Zduriencik swapped him to Baltimore for Robert Andino, a backup currently on the Mariners’ roster. Chih-Hsien Chiang never played for Seattle — or in the majors — and is now in the Texas system.
Bedard lasted half a season in Boston (1-2, 4.03 ERA), signed as a free agent with Pittsburgh (7-14, 5.01 ERA in 2012) and now finds himself with the Houston Astros, his fourth team in three years, for whom he will face the Mariners in the second of a three-game series at Safeco Field.
Bedard was a pretty good pitcher in 2006 and 2007, which is why Bavasi wanted him. But he had Tommy John surgery and two shoulder surgeries to go with eight trips to the disabled list since. His latest medical setback occurred in the spring when he came down with — ahem — a strained gluteal muscle, or as you might call it, a sore butt.
Bedard recovered sufficiently to record a save for Houston in his first appearance, and now will make his first start, opposite rookie Brandon Maurer, in search of his first major league win.
Tuesday seems a ripe time to get it. After winning their opener, the Astros have dropped six in a row, including a 3-0 decision to the Mariners in their home opener Monday night. In those six, the Astros have been outscored 37-9, suffered three shutouts and struck out 69 times. A closer look at Tuesday’s probables:
MARINERS: RHP Brandon Maurer (0-1, 9.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)
Maurer pitched fairly efficiently (no walks) in his debut against Oakland last week, but was wild in the strike zone and gave up two home runs. When he made that start, Maurer became the first Seattle pitcher to make the jump from AA ball to the majors since Mike Hampton and John Cummings in 1993. Maurer earned his spot in the rotation with an outstanding spring, in which he went 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA in seven appearances, including four starts.
- LAST START: April 4 at Oakland, lost 8-2; 6 earned runs on 8 hits over 6.0 innings; 1 strikeout, 0 walks, 2 home runs; 72 pitches, 54 for strikes.
- LAST VS. ASTROS: Never pitched; Maurer will be making his second career start and his first at Safeco Field.
- At AA Jackson last year, Maurer was the Southern League’s Most Outstanding Pitcher after going 9-2 with a 3.20 ERA (49 ER, 137.2 IP) in 24 starts. The Mariners also named Maurer the minor league system’s Most Improved Player.
- Maurer led the Southern League with an .818 winning percentage and ranked fifth in ERA He tied for the Generals’ lead in wins (9), while leading the team in strikeouts (117) and innings pitched (137.1).
- Over his final 14 starts, from June 1-Aug. 16, Maurer went 7-1 with a 2.50 ERA (24 ER, 86.1 IP) and recorded 10 quality starts.
- Maurer graduated from Orange Lutheran (CA) High School in 2008, and was selected in the 23rd round of the June draft that year. Since then, he pitched in the Arizona Rookie League, Class A Clinton in the Midwest League (2010-11), Class A High Desert (2011) in the California League and AA Jackson.
WHITE SOX: LHP Erik Bedard (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.30 WHIP)
Between 2008-11, Bedard, 34, made just 46 starts, compiling a 15-14 record and 3.31 ERA. Traded July 31, 2011, Bedard pitched for the Red Sox, Pirates and Astros, winning eight games while losing 16. The Astros used him in long relief March 31 against Texas. He’ll be making his first start of the season.
- LAST APPEARANCE: March 31 vs. Texas, collected a save in an 8-2 victory over the Rangers; worked 3.1 innings of relief, allowing just 1 hit; 2 strikeouts, no walks, 38 pitches, 26 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: June 4, 2007, took a no-decision in Baltimore’s 7-4 loss at Safeco Field; 3 earned run on 8 hits in 6.0 innings; 7 strikeouts, 3 walks, 1 home run.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 1-3, 5.46 ERA in 5 starts covering 28.0 innings; 25 strikeouts to 15 walks, 4 home runs, 1.53 WHIP.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 8-11, 3.60 ERA in 29 starts covering 162.1 innings; 164 strikeouts to 70 walks, 17 home runs, 1.29 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Michael Morse (0-for-3, .000), Robert Andino (1-for-9, .111), Raul Ibanez (1-for-9, .111).
- HATES TO FACE: Kelly Shoppach (3-for-1o, .333), Kendrys Morales (2-for-8, .250).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. BEDARD: 7-for-41, .171 BA, 14 strikeouts to 7 walks, 1 home run, .292 on-base percentage.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT HOME STAND: Three vs. Houston (Monday-Wednesday), four vs. Texas (Thursday-Sunday), three vs. Detroit (April 16-18). The Mariners will not get their first day off April 15.
- Seattle’s 3-0 victory over Houston Monday snapped a streak of three consecutive losses in the home opener.
- Mariners are now 22-15 all-time in home openers, including 5-4 at Safeco Field.
- With is strong effort Monday, LHP Joe Saunders improved his lifetime record at Safeco Field to 7-0, 1.91 in 10 starts.
- Kendrys Morales, who went 2-for-3 with a walk, has multiple hits in three of Seattle’s past four games.
- Morales extended his hitting streak to four games, but Michael Morse had his streak snapped at six.
- Four of Seattle’s regulars — Kyle Seager (.167), Justin Smoak (.167), Jesus Montero (.160) and Dustin Ackley (.087) — are hitting under .200.
- Tom Wilhelmsen is 3-for-3 in save opportunities.
- After going 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position Saturday and Sunday in Chicago, the Mariners went 2-for-6 Monday.
|4/9||Tue||vs. Hou||RHP Brandon Maurer (0-1) vs. RHP Erik Bedard (0-0)|
|4/10||Wed||vs. Hou||RHP Blake Beavan (0-0) vs. RHP Brad Peacock (0-1)|
|4/11||Thr||vs. Tex||RHP Felix Hernandez (1-1) vs. Matt Harrison (0-2)|
|4/12||Fri||vs. Tex||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (1-0) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (2-0)|
|4/13||Sat||vs. Tex||LHP Joe Saunders (1-1) vs. TBA|