GAME: Mariners (20-21, 2nd, AL West, -7-0 GB) at Indians (22-17, T1, AL Central). GAME #: 42. SERIES: 1st of 4 games. MEETING: 1st (Mariners and Indians tied 2012 series 4-4). WHEN: Friday, 4:05 p.m., Progressive Field. STREAKS: Mariners W 2; Indians W 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Brandon Maurer, the 22-year-old still trying to get acclimated to the majors after making the leap from AA Jackson, will face the Cleveland Indians for the first time in his career Friday when the Mariners, suddenly in second place in the AL West after taking two of three from the Yankees in New York, open a four-game series at Progressive Field.
Maurer (2-5) is looking for his first road victory and has been inconsistent all season. Maurer faces a club that has been battling Detroit for the AL Central lead for the first month an a half, and a pitcher, Ubaldo Jimenez, who will be seeking his fourth consecutive victory.
Besides that, the Indians rank third in the American League in runs per game, first in slugging and first in overall defense, according to Baseball Prospectus’ park-adjusted defensive efficiency.
The Mariners (20-21), who took over sole possession of second place in the division Thursday by beating the Yankees 3-2, have a chance Friday to reach .500 for the first time since April 8 when they were 4-4. Seattle has won 12 of its past 18 games and has posted a 5-0-1 mark in its last six series after going 0-5-2 in its first seven.
MARINERS: RHP Brandon Maurer (2-5, 5.97 ERA, 1.47 WHIP)
Maurer, a Newport Beach, CA., native in his first major league season, makes his eighth start and first against the Yankees. Maurer allowed three earned runs in 5.0 innings in his last start, but came away with his second consecutive loss. He pitched his best game April 25 when he defeated the Angels 6-0. He has allowed four or more earned runs three times.
- LAST START: May 11 vs. Oakland, lost 5-2; 3 earned runs on 6 hits in 5.0 innings; 4 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 home runs, 95 pitches, 51 for strikes.
- LAST VS. INDIANS: Never faced.
- CAREER VS. INDIANS: No record.
- AT PROGRESSIVE FIELD: No record.
- LOVES/HATES TO FACE: Maurer has never faced a member of the Indians roster.
- CURRENT INDIANS VS. MAURER: No statistics.
INDIANS: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (3-2, 5.55 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
The 29-year-old Jimenez, a Dominican native in his eighth major league season and third with Cleveland, will make his eighth start and first against the Mariners. After two losses and two no-decisions to open the season, Jimenez has won his past three starts, allowing just three earned runs. He has recorded 16 strikeouts in his past two outings vs. four walks.
- LAST START: May 11 at Detroit, won 7-6; 1 earned run on 3 hits in 6.0 innings; 8 strikeouts, 1 walk, 1 home run, 93 pitches, 63 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: Aug. 20, 2012, took a no-decision in Cleveland’s 5-3 defeat; 3 earned runs on 6 hits in 5.2 innings; 8 strikeouts, 3 walks, 1 home run, 98 pitches, 59 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 2-0, 4.35 ERA in 3 starts covering 20.2 innings; 15 strikeouts, 7 walks, 4 home runs, 1.25 WHIP.
- AT PROGRESSIVE FIELD: 8-9, 4.25 ERA in 21 starts covering 127.0 innings; 112 strikeouts, 56 walks, 15 home runs, 1.33 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Kyle Seager (0-for-5, .000), Brendan Ryan (1-for-11, .091), Endy Chavez (2-for-9, .222).
- HATES TO FACE: Michael Saunders (4-for-5, .800), Dustin Ackley (4-for-6, .667), Jason Bay (2-for-6, .333).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. JIMENEZ: 17-for-76, .224 BA, 21 strikeouts, 8 walks, 3 home runs, .306 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 to begin a three-game series with the Texas Rangers.
- The Mariners’ series win in New York was their first in Yankee Stadium since the 2004 season.
- Michael Morse hit his 10th home run Thursday night, one shy of the American League lead. The Mariners didn’t have a player hit 10 last year until June 2 (Justin Smoak).
- Closer Tom Wilhelmsen has appeared in 17 games and has retired the first batter he’s faced 16 times. He’s 11-for-11 in save opportunities
- In the Mariners’ 20 victories, they are batting .298 (48-for-161) with runners in scoring position. In 21 losses, the Mariners are batting .121 (17-for-140) with RISP. The Mariners have no hits with RISP 10 times in 41 games.
|5/17||Fri||at Clev||RHP Brandon Maurer (2-5) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (3-2)|
|5/18||Sat||at Clev||LHP Joe Saunders (3-4) vs. RHP Zach McAllister (3-3)|
|5/19||Sun||at Clev||RHP Felix Hernandez (5-2) vs. RHP Justin Masterson (6-2)|
|5/20||Mon||at Clev||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (4-1) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (2-1)|
|5/21||Tue||at LAA||RHP Aaron Harang (1-4) vs. TBA|
|5/22||Wed||at LAA||RHP Brandon Maurer (2-5) vs. TBA|