GAME: Mariners (20-22, T2, AL West, -7-0 GB) at Indians (23-17, T1, AL Central, 0.0 GB). GAME #: 43. SERIES: 2nd of 4 games. MEETING: 2nd (Indians lead series 1-0). WHEN: Saturday, 10:05 a.m., Progressive Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Indians W 2. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Lefty Joe Saunders has described the Jekyll & Hyde discrepancy in his home and road records as a “fluke.” But 3-0, 0.94 in four Safeco starts vs. 0-4, 12.54 away from Safeco reads more like a trend than an anomaly. More evidence on this curious phenomenon will be gathered Saturday when Saunders probes the dangers of Progressive Field in the second of four against the Cleveland Indians.
Saunders catches a minor break Saturday. His mound foe, RHP Zach McAllister is just 7-7, 4.49 in his career at Progressive Field and has worked into the seventh inning this season just twice in seven starts.
The Mariners dropped the opener 6-3 Friday when the unlikely Jason Kipnis, a .236 hitter, ripped a three-run, walk-off homer off Lucas Luetge in the bottom of the 10th. That denied Seattle a third consecutive victory on the nine-game road trip and sent the Mariners (20-22) into a tie for second place in the AL West with Oakland.
Saunders, who has pitched in the major leagues for nine years, has never won a game in Cleveland, which may or may not be an omen.
MARINERS: LHP Joe Saunders (3-4, 5.51 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)
The 31-year-old Saunders, a Fairfax, VA., native in his ninth major league season and first with Seattle, will make his ninth start and first against the Indians. Saunders, 3-0, 1.84 ERA at home, gets his fifth chance to finally win on the road, where he is 0-4, 12.54 with 26 earned runs allowed. Saunders threw his best game of the year April 29 when he recorded a 6-2, complete-game win over Baltimore at Safeco Field. He’s worked into the seventh inning in four of his starts.
- LAST START: May 12 vs. Oakland, won 6-1; 1 earned run on 5 hits in 6.1 innings; 6 strikeouts, 3 walks, 0 home runs, 104 pitches, 62 for strikes.
- LAST VS. INDIANS: April 27, 2010, pitching for the Angels, lost 9-2; 3 earned runs on 9 hits in 5.0 innings; 2 strikeouts, 4 walks, 1 home run, 104 pitches, 59 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. INDIANS: 2-1, 3.19 ERA in six starts covering 36.2 innings; 21 strikeouts, 18 walks, 3 home runs, 1.55 WHIP.
- AT PROGRESSIVE FIELD: 0-0, 5.40 ERA in 1 start covering 2 5.0 innings; 2 strikeouts, 0 walks, 0 home runs, 2.00 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Ryan Raburn (1-for-16, .063), Mike Aviles (1-for-5, .200), Nick Swisher (5-for-24, .208), Jason Giambi (3-for-12, .250).
- HATES TO FACE: Yan Gomes (2-for-3, .667), Drew Stubbs (4-for-11, .364), Michael Bourn (2-for-6, .333).
- CURRENT INDIANS VS. SAUNDERS: 20-for-85, .235 BA, 17 strikeouts, 7 walks, 3 home runs, .316 on-base percentage.
INDIANS: RHP Zach McAllister (3-3, 2.68 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)
The 25-year-old McAllister, an Illinois native in his third major league season, all with Cleveland, will make his eighth start and first against the Mariners. After losing three of his first four starts, McAllister has won two of his past three. He had his best outing May 7 when he blanked Oakland on five hits over 7.2 innings. He has pitched into the seventh inning three times.
- LAST START: May 12 at Detroit, took a no-decision in a 4-3 win over the Tigers; 2 earned runs on 8 hits over 6.0 innings; 5 strikeouts, 3 walks, 1 home run, 111 pitches, 70 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: Aug. 22, 2012, took a no-decision in a 3-1 loss; 1 earned run on 3 hits in 6.0 innings; 4 strikeouts, 3 walks, 1 home run, 98 pitches, 64 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 0-1, 7.20 ERA in 3 starts covering 15.0 innings; 12 strikeouts, 10 walks, 2 home runs, 1.66 WHIP.
- AT PROGRESSIVE FIELD: 7-7, 4.49 ERA in 20 starts covering 112.1 innings; 95 strikeouts to 33 wealks, 19 home runs, 1.41 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Justin Smoak (0-for-4, .000), Jesus Montero (0-for-2, .000), Michael Saunders (1-for-6, .167).
- HATES TO FACE: Dustin Ackley (3-for-8, .375), Kyle Seager (3-for-8, .375), Kendrys Morales (1-for-3, .333).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. MCALLISTER: 10-for-47, .213 BA, 11 strikeouts, 5 walks, 1 home run, .288 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 Tuesday Wednesday). The Mariners return to Safeco Field Friday to begin a three-game series with the Texas Rangers.
- Raul Ibanez has four home runs on the current road trip after hitting just three home runs for the season, all at home. Ibanez went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs Friday.
- The Mariners are 5-0-1 in their last six series after going 0-5-2 in their first seven.
- Felix Hernandez (1.53) and Hisashi Iwakuma (1.84) have a combined 1.68
ERA in 18 starts.
- Michael Morse, Seattle’s leading home-run hitter with 10, did not play Friday due to an eye irritation.
- The Mariners Friday optioned Hector Noesi to AAA Tacoma, called up reliever Danny Farquhar and placed Stephen Pryor on the 60-day disable list.
- In the Mariners’ 20 victories, they are batting .298 (48-for-161) with runners in scoring position. In 22 losses, the Mariners are batting .115 (17-for-147) with RISP. The Mariners have no hits with RISP 11 times in 42 games.
|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|