GAME: Tigers (8-5, 1st, AL Central, +1.0 GA) at Mariners (6-9, 3rd, AL West, -5.0 GB). GAME #: 16. SERIES: 2nd of 3 games. MEETING: 2nd (Tigers lead 1-0). WHEN: Wednesday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Tigers W 3. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Felix Hernandez made his major league debut against the Detroit Tigers Aug. 4, 2005, at age 19, and came away with a 3-1 loss. Ninety-nine wins later, nine at Detroit’s expense, Hernandez can record his 100th career victory Wednesday night at Safeco Field when the Mariners contest the Tigers in the second game of a three-game series.
To reach the century mark, Hernandez will require a significantly better offense performance from his teammates than Aaron Harang and four Seattle relievers had Wednesday night in a 6-2 loss to the Tigers in front of a sparse crowd of 12,379.
The Mariners eked out four hits off former Mariner Doug Fister, who cruised to an easy win on the strength of five strikeouts and 11 ground-ball outs. Except for the fourth inning, when Fister allowed two runs, he never gave Seattle hitters a chance.
This will be Hernandez’s third attempt at No. 100, and he’ll have to beat the best-hitting team in the majors. Detroit lashed 12 hits, three each by Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez . Bad news is, Cabrera, the reigning Triple Crown winner, is a .429 career hitter against Hernandez, the former Cy Young winner. Martinez is a lifetime .278 hitter off King Felix.
Hernandez’s opponent Wednesday, Max Scherzer, might not be of All-Star caliber, but he’s 1-0 this year, 4-1 lifetime against Seattle and 2-0 at Safeco Field. A closer look at the starters:
MARINERS: RHP Felix Hernandez (1-2, 3.21 ERA, 1.16 WHIP)
The 27-year-old Hernandez, in his ninth major league season, all with Seattle, will make his league-high fourth start and first against the Tigers, a team he has dominated. After defeating Oakland 2-0 on Opening Day in an eight-strikeout, one-walk performance, Hernandez has been ordinary compared to his usual standards. In his last two starts, he has allowed seven earned runs on 16 hits with eight strikeouts and five walks.
- LAST START: April 11 vs. Texas, lost 4-3; 4 earned runs on 10 hits in 6.2 innings; 5 strikeouts 2 walks, 1 home run, 113 pitches, 77 for strikes.
- LAST VS. TIGERS: April 25, 2012, won 9-1 at Comerica Park; 1 earned run on 4 hits over 7.0 innings; 2 strikeouts, 3 walks, 92 pitches, 53 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. TIGERS: 9-2, 2.65 ERA in 12 starts covering 78.0 innings; 74 strikeouts to 23 walks, 2 home runs, 1.19 WHIP.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 51-36, 3.17 ERA in 120 starts covering 829.2 innings; 789 strikeouts to 232 walks, 65 home runs, 1.19 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Omar Infante (0-for-8, .000), Ramon Santiago (2-for-18, .111), Jhonny Peralta (7-or-29, .241).
- HATES TO FACE: Miguel Cabrera (9-for-21, .429), Torii Hunter (22-for-68, .324), Victor Martinez (5-for-18, .278).
- CURRENT TIGERS VS. HERNANDEZ: 53-for-196, .270 BA, 39 strikeouts, 16 walks, 2 home runs, .341 on-base percentage.
TIGERS: RHP Max Scherzer (1-0, 1.91 ERA, 1.32 WHIP)
The 28-year-old Scherzer, a Missouri native in his sixth major league season and fifth with the Tigers, will make his third start and first against the Mariners. Scherzer’s only victory was April 6 when he defeated the Yankees 8-4 at Comerica Park. In two starts covering 11.0 innings, Scherzer has produced a tremendous strikeout-to-walk ratio, 18 whiffs to three free passes. He has allowed one home run.
- LAST START: April 12 at Oakland, took a no-decision in a 4-3 loss; 2 earned runs on 5 hits in 6.0 innings; 11 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 100 pitches, 65 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: April 24, 2012, lost 7-4; 5 earned runs on 10 hits in 5.0 innings; 6 strikeouts vs. 2 walks, 0 home runs, 103 pitches, 63 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 4-1, 3.09 ERA in 5 starts covering 32.0 innings; 28 strikeouts to 11 walks, 3 home runs, 1.25 WHIP.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 2-0, 3.00 ERA in 2 starts covering 12.0 innings; 11 strikeouts to 5 walks, 2 home runs, 1.41 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Justin Smoak (1-for-8, .125), Kelly Shoppach (1-for-5, .200), Brendan Ryan (1-for-4, .250).
- HATES TO FACE: Kyle Seager (2-for-3, .667), Kendrys Morales (3-for-9, .333), Franklin Gutierrez (2-for-6, .333).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. SCHERZER: 18-for-65, .277 BA, 20 strikeouts to 6 walks, 3 home runs, .351 on-base percentage.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT HOME STAND: Three vs. Houston, four vs. Texas, three vs. Detroit (Tuesday-Thursday).
- The 16 strikeouts Tuesday was a season high and marked the 23rd time in club history that a Seattle staff fanned 16 or more in the same game. Last time: Aug. 24, 2011 at Cleveland.
- Aaron Harang made his first start, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out six and walking none.
- Dustin Ackley went 1-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to five games.
- Michael Morse returned to the lineup Tuesday (broken finger) and went 1-for-4.
- The Mariners recalled RHP Yoervis Medina from AAA Tacoma Tuesday. Medina, who made his major league debut hours after his summons, replaces RHP Stephen Pryor, placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a tear in his right latissimus dorsi muscle. Medina, 24, went 0-1, 1.50 ERA in four relief appearances with the Rainiers.
- In the Mariners’ six victories, they are batting .355 (16-for-45) with runners in scoring position. In nine losses, the Mariners are batting .113 (7-for-62 with RISP. The Mariners have no hits with RISP six times in 15 games.
- The Mariners are in the midst of 16 games in 16 days and won’t take their next day off until May 2.
- Following the three-game series with the Tigers, the Mariners will play three at Texas and three at Houston before returning to Safeco Field for their first series with the L.A. Angels April 25.
|4/17||Wed||vs. Det||RHP Felix Hernandez (1-2) vs. Max Scherzer (1-0)|
|4/18||Thr||vs. Det||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (1-0) vs. Justin Verlander (2-1)|
|4/19||Fri||at Tex||LHP Joe Saunders (1-1) vs. Yu Darvish (2-1)|
|4/20||Sat||at Tex||RHP Brandon Maurer (1-2) vs. RHP Nick Tepesch (1-1)|
|4/21||Sun||at Tex||RHP Aaron Harang (0-1) vs. LHP Derek Holland (0-1)|