GAME: Astros (2-6, 5th, AL West, -4.0 GB) at Mariners (4-5, 3rd, AL West, -2.5 GB). GAME #: 10. SERIES: 3rd of 3 games. MEETING: 3rd (series tied 1-1). WHEN: Wednesday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Astros W 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Based on what he showed in spring training, the Mariners assumed that rookie Brandon Maurer would be able to make a successful transition from Class AA ball to the major leagues. But what Maurer has demonstrated in two starts is that there is a good reason why 20 years have gone by since the last time (1993) the Mariners attempted such an experiment with such an inexperienced pitcher.
Maurer couldn’t even get out of the first inning Tuesday night against a Houston Astros team that had scored just nine runs in a six-game losing streak. He allowed six earned runs on seven hits with a walk while throwing 36 pitches as the Astros raced to a 13-0 lead en route to a 16-9 victory.
In 6.2 innings of work spread over two starts after becoming the first since Mike Hampton and John Cummings in 1993 to leap from AA ball to the majors, Maurer (0-2) allowed 12 earned runs on 15 hits and sports a 16.20 ERA — without allowing a home run Tuesday.
Provided that Maurer still has a shred of confidence left, the Mariners can take two positives from the debacle: Only 10,745 fans, the smallest crowd in Safeco Field history, witnessed Maurer’s meltdown (also reliever Kameron Loe’s: five earned runs in 2.1 innings), and maybe the secret will be safe with them. Second, there is always another ball game.
That would be Wednesday when the Mariners will dispatch Blake Beavan to the bump to pick up the pieces in the final game of the series. Beavan, coming off a less-than-stellar effort against the White Sox in his first start, has never faced the Astros, nor has his opposite, Brad Peacock, ever contested the Mariners.
A closer look at Wednesday’s starters:
MARINERS: RHP Blake Beavan (0-0, 9.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
The 6-foot-7 Beavan, who broke into the Mariners rotation last year and wound up making 11 starts after a four-start stint with the AAA Tacoma Rainiers, barely eked out the No. 5 job in Seattle’s rotation after going 1-1 with a 6.52 ERA during the spring. He carried those poor numbers into his first start last week at Chicago and was lucky to come away with a no-decision after allowing five earned runs in five innings. Beavan doesn’t overpower anybody, but relies on fastball command and keeping runners off base with one of the lowest walk rates in baseball.
- LAST START: April 5 at Chicago, took a no-decision in Seattle’s 8-7 victory; 5 earned runs on 6 hits in 5.0 innings; 2 strikeouts, 0 walks, 2 home runs, 84 pitches, 61 for strikes.
- LAST VS. ASTROS: Never faced.
- CAREER VS. ASTROS: No record.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 10-8, 4.18 ERA in 21 starts covering 129.1 innings; 51 strikeouts to 20 walks, 20 home runs, 1.22 WHIP.
- LOVES/HATES TO FACE: Beavan has faced only one current member of the Astros, Carlos Pena, who is 1-for-9, .111 BA against him.
- CURRENT ASTROS VS. BEAVAN: 1-for-9, .111 BA, 1 strikeout, 0 walks, 0 home runs, .111 on-base percentage.
ASTROS: RHP Brad Peacock (0-1, 4.15 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)
The 25-year-old native of Wellington, FL., is in his second major league season and first with the Astros, who acquired him from the Oakland Athletics in a multi-player trade Feb. 4. Peacock, selected by the Washington Nationals in the 41st round of the 2006 amateur draft, went 2-0 in two starts for the Nationals in 2012 after going 12-9 at AAA Sacramento. He lost his first outing April 5 at Oakland.
- LAST START: April 5 vs. Oakland, lost 8-3; 2 earned runs on 3 hits in 4.1 innings, 5 strikeouts, 3 walks, 1 home run; 89 pitches, 47 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: Never pitched.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: No record.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: Never pitched.
- LOVES/HATES TO FACE: Peacock has faced two Mariners. Raul Ibanez is 0-for-2 and Jason Bay is 0-for-1 with a walk
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. PEACOCK: 0-for-3, .000 BA, 0 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, .250 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 of until April 15,
- Feeble as Brandon Maurer was in his second start, Kameron Loe was just as lame, allowing five earned runs in less than three innings. Loe has already surrendered six home runs in four relief appearances.
- The eight home runs hit by Houston (5) and Seattle (3) are tied for the third-most in a single game in Safeco history. The two-team record is nine, set July 16, 2004 (Indians and Mariners) and matched Aug. 27, 2004 (Mariners and Royals).
- Michael Saunders went 1-for-4 Tuesday, extending his hitting streak to seven games.
- So much for a warm carry-over effect from Monday’s Safeco Field near-sellout: Tuesday’s crowd of 10,745 was the lowest in ballpark history. The record was 11,352 last season.
- Raul Ibanez now has 67 home runs at Safeco Field, most of any player.
|4/11||Thr||vs. Tex||RHP Felix Hernandez (1-1) vs. LHP 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. RHP Alexi Ogando (2-0).|
|4/14||Sun||vs. Tex||RHP Brandon Maurer (0-2) vs. RHP Nick Tepesch (0-0).|