GAME: Mariners (18-20, 3rd, AL West, -6.5 GB) at Yankees (24-14, 1st, AL East, +1.0 GA). GAME #: 39. SERIES: 1st of 3 games. MEETING: 1st (Yankees won 2012 series 6-3). WHEN: Tuesday, 4:05 p.m., Yankee Stadium. STREAKS: Mariners W 1; Yankees W 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Felix Hernandez has made 266 career starts, none more memorable than the perfect game he threw last Aug. 15 against Tampa Bay at Safeco Field. One of Hernandez’s most notable road victories occurred two weeks prior to his perfecto when, on Aug. 4, he threw a complete-game, two-hitter and beat New York 1-0 at Yankee Stadium.
Hernandez relishes pitching in that ballpark. In five starts covering 39.2 innings, he’s 4-1 with a 1.13 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. Hernandez will make his sixth outing in Yankee Stadium Tuesday when the Mariners begin a nine-day, nine-game road trip that will take them through the Bronx, Cleveland and Anaheim.
Hernandez will oppose C.C. Sabathia, who has pretty much owned Seattle during his career –12-4 with a 2.46 ERA in 20 starts — and pitch for the second time against former Mariners’ icon Ichiro Suzuki, who had one of the two hits against him in that Aug. 4, 2012 complete game.
Since his July 23 trade, Ichiro has played 100 games, in which he has 104 hits and has batted .301 with a .364 on-base percentage and .752 OPS, the latter number more than 100 points higher than the .642 OPS he posted in the 95 games he played for Seattle prior to the trade.
Ichiro, though, is off to his traditional slow start, batting just .254 with a sub-par, .307 on-base percentage. He’s in an 0-for-12 slide after going 0-for-4 in the first game of a doubleheader against Cleveland Monday. Bleak as are those numbers, they would fit right in with this year’s Mariners roster: Michael Morse, for example, is hitting .230 with a .292 OBP; Dustin Ackley is at .231, .268, and Jesus Montero .200, .230.
The Mariners have their best momentum of the season. The have won six of nine, nine of 13 and 10 of 15. They are also 4-0-1 in their past five series after failing to win one series for the majority of April.
MARINERS: RHP Felix Hernandez (5-2, 1.53 ERA, 0.90 WHIP)
The 27-year-old Hernandez, in his ninth major league season, all with the Mariners, will make his ninth start and first against the Yankees. The American League leader in ERA (1.53) and innings pitched (58.2), Hernandez has won four consecutive decisions following two losses and a no-decision. He has pitched into the eighth inning in five of his starts and has a strikeout-to-walk record of 56-8. He has not allowed more than one earned run in a game since April 11.
- LAST START: May 8 at Pittsburgh, won 2-1; 1 earned run on 6 hits over 8.0 innings; 5 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 97 pitches, 68 for strikes.
- LAST VS. YANKEES: Aug. 4, 2012, won 1-0; threw a complete-game shutout with 6 strikeouts, 2 walks, 101 pitches, 69 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. YANKEES: 8-5, 3.08 ERA in 14 starts covering 102.1 innings; 83 strikeouts, 40 walks, 10 home runs, 1.28 WHIP.
- AT YANKEE STADIUM: 4-1, 1.13 ERA in 5 starts covering 39.2 innings; 40 strikeouts, 14 walks, 1 home run, 0.95 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Lyle Overbay (2-for-15, .133), Brennan Boesch (2-for-10, .200), Vernon Wells (6-for-28, .214).
- HATES TO FACE: Jayson Nix (5-for-10, .500), Ichiro (2-for-5, .400), Robinson Cano (15-for-41, .366), Brett Gardner (5-for-17, .294).
- CURRENT YANKEES VS. HERNANDEZ: 100-for-376, .266 BA, 88 strikeouts, 41 walks, 13 home runs, .342 on-base percentage.
YANKEES: CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.23 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
The 32-year-old Sabathia, a Vallejo, CA., native in his 13th major league season, and fifth with the Yankees, will make his ninth start and first against the Mariners. Sabathia had a three-game winning streak from April 7-17, but has since gone 1-1 with a no-decision. He worked into the seventh inning five times and had his best start April 7 when he defeated Detroit 7-0, scattering four hits over 7.0 innings.
- LAST START: May 9 at Colorado, took a no-decision in a 3-1 win over the Rockies; 1 earned run on 1 hit in 4.0 innings, 2 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 51 pitches, 37 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: Aug. 3, 2012, threw a complete-game, 6-3 victory with 10 strikeouts, 1 walk, 2 home runs, 103 pitches, 72 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 12-4, 2.46 ERA in 20 starts covering 139.0 innings; 122 strikeouts, 36 walks, 12 home runs, 1.07 WHIP.
- AT YANKEE STADIUM: 36-13, 3.02 ERA in 65 starts covering 465.1 innings; 434 strikeouts, 118 walks, 37 home runs, 1.08 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Michael Saunders (1-for-11, .091), Dustin Ackley (1-for-7, .143), Justin Smoak (2-for-9, .222).
- HATES TO FACE: Brendan Ryan (4-for-10, .400), Robert Andino (8-for-23, .348), Kendrys Morales (3-for-9, .333).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. SABATHIA: 49-for-197, .249 BA, 50 strikeouts, 15 walks, 11 home runs, .312 on-base percentage.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT ROAD TRIP: Three at New York (Tuesday-Thursday), four at Cleveland (Friday-Monday), two at L.A. Angels (May 21-22). The Mariners return to Safeco Field May 24 for a three-game series with the Texas Rangers.
- Joe Saunders is 3-0 with a 0.94 ERA in four starts at Safeco Field this season — in contrast to his 0-4, 12.54 ERA on the road.
- Michael Saunders reached base in 16 of his past 20 games and has hits in 13 of those.
- Felix Hernandez (1.53) and Hisashi Iwakuma (1.74) rank second and eighth, respectively, in major league ERA. Iwakuma leads the American League in WHIP (0.76).
- Justin Smoak has reached base in 14 of his past 15 contests and is batting .306 over that stretch.
- In the Mariners’ 18 victories, they are batting .297 (42-for-141) with runners in scoring position. In 20 losses, the Mariners are batting .124 (16-for-129) with RISP. The Mariners have no hits with RISP 10 times in 38 games.
|5/14||Tue||at NYY||RHP Felix Hernandez (5-2) vs. LHP CC Sabathia (4-3)|
|5/15||Wed||at NYY||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (3-1) vs. RHP Phil Hughes (2-2)|
|5/16||Thr||at NYY||RHP Aaron Harang (1-4) vs. LHP Andy Pettitte (4-2)|