GAME: Mariners (15-19, 3rd, AL West, -5.5 GB) at Pirates (18-14, 2nd, NL Central, -2.0 GB). GAME #: 35. SERIES: 2nd of 2 games. MEETING: 2nd (Pirates lead 1-0). WHEN: 9:35 a.m., PNC Park. STREAKS: Mariners L 2; Pirates W 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Over his past four starts, Felix Hernandez, this morning’s designee against the Pittsburgh Pirates, is 3-0 with an 0.60 ERA with 35 strikeouts and just two walks. Those efforts have improved Felix’s season line to 4-2, 1.60 ERA with a 0.90 WHIP. He’s third in the American League in ERA, third in strikeouts (51) and first in innings pitched (50.2).
A comparison between this season and Hernandez’s previous full seasons, listed in reverse chronological order below, show that he’s off to the best start of his career by far, especially in terms of his strikeouts-to-walks ratio and his ERA (numbers are through Hernandez’s first seven starts of each season).
Given the way he’s pitched lately, Hernandez has a chance Wednesday to post his 50th career start with at least 8.0 innings while allowing one or fewer runs, and deliver his 24th start with at least 8.0 shutout innings. That’s already the most in baseball since Felix made his debut in 2005.
Hernandez is 13-7, 2.88 in 26 career interleague starts. That includes winning his only start against the Pirates, 3-0, June 21, 2007 at Safeco Field. Wednesday, he’ll oppose A.J. Burnett, who will enter riding a three-game winning streak. A closer look:
MARINERS: RHP Felix Hernandez (4-2, 1.60 ERA, 0.90 WHIP)
The 27-year-old Hernandez, a Venezuelan in his ninth major league season, all with Seattle, will make his eighth start and first against the Pirates. Hernandez is coming off three consecutive victories (Astros, Angels, Blue Jays) during which he has recorded 23 strikeouts and just two walks and lowered his ERA from 2.51 to 1.60. Hernandez has worked into the seventh inning in six of his outings.
- LAST START: May 3 at Toronto, won 4-0; allowed five hits in 8.0 innings; 7 strikeouts, 0 walks, 0 home runs, 95 pitches, 63 for strikes.
- LAST VS. PIRATES: June 21, 2007, won 3-0; allowed six hits over 8.0 innings; 9 strikeouts, 0 walks, 101 pitches, 77 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. PIRATES: 1-0, 0.00 ERA in 1 start covering 8.0 innings; 9 strikeouts, 0 walks, 0 home runs, 0.87 WHIP.
- AT PNC PARK: Never pitched.
- LOVES TO FACE: Travis Snider (1-for-9, .111), Russell Martin (3-for-17, .176), Brandon Inge (4-for-22, .182).
- HATES TO FACE: John McDonald (2-for-5, .400), Gaby Sanchez (1-fot-4, .250).
- CURRENT PIRATES VS. HERNANDEZ: 11-for-57, .193 BA, 17 strikeouts, 3 walks, 0 home runs, .233 on-base percentage.
PIRATES: RHP A.J. Burnett (3-2, 2.57 ERA, 1.11 WHIP)
The 36-year-old Burnett, an Arkansas native in his 15th major league season, and second with Pittsburgh, will make his eighth start and first against the Mariners. A 16-game winner in 2012, Burnett has won his past three decisions, pitching his best game April 17 when he blanked St. Louis 5-0 on one hit over 7.0 innings. During his career, Burnett has pitched for the Marlins, Blue Jays and Yankees.
- LAST START: May 3, defeated Washington 3-1; 1 run on 5 hits in 7.0 innings; 9 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 93 pitches, 63 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: Sept. 13, 2011, won 3-2; 2 runs on 4 hits in 4.0 innings; 11 strikeouts, 2 walks, 0 home runs, 103 pitches, 63 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 3-2, 3.71 ERA in 8 starts covering 51.0 innings; 55 strikeouts, 17 walks, 3 home runs, 1.37 WHIP).
- AT PNC PARK: 11-8, 2.90 ERA in 24 starts covering 155.0 innings; 134 strikeouts, 34 walks, 11 home runs, 1.16 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Justin Smoak (0-for-3, .000), Dustin Ackley (0-for-2, .000), Kelly Shoppach (0-for-2, .000).
- HATES TO FACE: Robert Andino (7-for-18, .389), Kendrys Morales (3-for-8, .375), Jason Bay (8-for-22, .364).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. BURNETT: 30-for-94, .319 BA, 23 strikeouts, 13 walks, 2 home runs, .416 on-base percentage.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT ROAD TRIP: Three at Toronto (Friday-Sunday), day off Monday, two at Pittsburgh (Tuesday-Wednesday). Following another day off Thursday, the Mariners play a three-game series vs. Oakland Friday-Sunday.
- 4-1 losers Tuesday, Mariners have won three consecutive series after beginning the season 0-5-2 in series. Despite the loss, the Mariners have won seven of their past 11.
- The weekend trio against the Oakland Athletics will be the club’s only games in Seattle between May 1-24.
- The Mariners and Pirates will meet again, June 25-26, at Safeco Field.
- In the Mariners’ 15 victories, they are batting .316 (37-for-117) with runners in scoring position. In 19 losses, the Mariners are batting .121 (15-for-123) with RISP. The Mariners have no hits with RISP nine times in 34 games.
|5/8||Wed||at Pitt||RHP Felix Hernandez (3-2) vs. RHP A.J. Burnett (2-2)|
|5/10||Fri||vs. Oak||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (3-1) vs. RHP Dan Straily (1-0)|
|5/11||Sat||vs. Oak||RHP Brandon Maurer (2-4) vs. RHP Jarrod Parker (1-5)|
|5/12||Sun||vs. Oak||LHP Joe Saunders (2-4) vs. LHP Tommy Milone (3-4)|