GAME: Mariners (22-31, 4th, AL West, -10.5 GB) at Padres (24-28, 4th, NL West, -6.0 GB). GAME #: 54. SERIES: 2nd of 2 games. MEETING: 4th (Padres lead 2-1). WHEN: Thursday, 12:40 p.m., Petco Park. STREAKS: Mariners L 2; Padres W 2. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Between April 22-May 8, Felix Hernandez won a season-high four consecutive starts. In the four, he pitched at least 6.0 innings and did allow more than one earned run in any of them. In fact, in two, he allowed no earned runs. It didn’t get a lot of attention at the time, but Hernandez’s work in those four starts was amazing in terms of Mariners history.
Only four other pitchers in franchise annals had a four-start stretch like that within one season: Mark Langston in 1988, Scott Bankhead in 1989 (5 in a row), Randy Johnson in 1997 (5) and Jarrod Washburn in 2009.
Since those four starts, Hernandez has gone in the opposite direction. After taking a no-decision against the Yankees May 14, in which he again allowed one earned run, he’s allowed 10 earned runs in his last two, both losses.
Time for Felix to do a 180, and Petco Park is the perfect venue for him. In five career starts there, Hernandez is 4-0 with a 1.63 ERA and 0.82 WHIP. Thursday, he’ll oppose Andrew Cashner, winner of his last three, who will face a Mariner squad that has lost seven consecutive road games. With Wednesday’s 3-2 loss (through no fault of Joe Saunders), Seattle has dropped 10 of its past 12.
“We have got to get the offense going,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said after the game. “That’s what sticks with you during runs like this. We’re not scoring enough runs and we’re inconsistent. The guys have to step up.”
No one stepped up Wednesday, not even Kendrys Morales, who had an eight-game hitting streak snapped. The Mariners had four hits for the second consecutive game and rank 14th in the AL in runs scored, 15th in batting average (.237) and 13th in on-base percentage (.306).
MARINERS: RHP Felix Hernandez (5-4, 2.51 ERA, 1.08 WHIP)
The 27-year-old Hernandez, in his ninth major league season, all with the Mariners, will make his 12th start and first against the Padres. Hernandez has been roughed up in his last two starts, both losses, allowing 10 earned runs on 19 hits in the pair. He had a no-decision immediately preceding those losses and hasn’t won since May at Pittsburgh, when he concluded a four-game winning streak.
- LAST START: May 25 vs. Texas, lost 5-2; 5 earned runs on 11 hits in 5.2 innings; 9 strikeouts, 1 walk, 1 home run, 114 pitches, 69 for strikes.
- LAST VS. PADRES: June 23, 2012, won 5-2; 1 earned run on 6 hits in 7.0 innings; 10 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 94 pitches, 64 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. PADRES: 5-3, 3.28 ERA in 10 starts covering 68.2 innings; 71 strikeouts, 18 walks, 5 home runs, 1.18 WHIP.
- AT PETCO PARK: 4-0, 1.63 ERA in 5 starts covering 38.2 innings; 44 strikeouts, 7 walks, 3 home runs, 0.82 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Logan Forsythe (1-for-6, .167), Chase Headley (3-for-18, .167), Nick Hundley (2-for-11, .182).
- HATES TO FACE: Chris Denorfia (3-for-6, .500), Cameron Maybin (3-for-9, .333), Mark Kotsay (7-for-23, .304).
- CURRENT PADRES VS. SAUNDERS: 34-for-126, .270 BA, 31 strikeouts, 8 walks, 2 home runs, .319 on-base percentage.
PADRES: RHP Andrew Cashner 4-2, 3.28 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
The 26-year-old Cashner, a Conroe, TX., native in his fourth major league season and second with San Diego, will make his eighth start and first against the Mariners. Cashner began the season working out of the San Diego bullpen and didn’t make his first start until April 20 (lost 2-0 to San Francisco). He collected his first win April 26 and since has won four of five decisions, including three in a row.
- LAST START: May 25 at Arizona, won 10-4; 4 earned runs on 9 hits in 6.0 innings; 5 strikeouts, 0 walks, 1 home run, 102 pitches, 73 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: June 24, 2010, pitching for the Cubs, did not factor in the decision in Chicago’s 3-2 win; 1 earned run on 3 hits in 2.0 innings; 2 strikeouts, 1 walk, blown save.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 0-0, 4.50 ERA in one appearance covering 2.0 innings; 2 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 2.00 ERA.
- AT PETCO PARK: 6-2, 3.12 ERA in 5 games, including 1 start, covering 52.0 innings; 46 strikeouts, 17 walks, 3 home runs, 1.19 WHIP.
- LOVES/HATES TO FACE: Cashner has faced only five current Mariners, who have gone 1-for-6 against him. Brendan Ryan has the only hit.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT ROAD TRIP: Two at San Diego (Wednesday-Thursday) and three at Minnesota (Friday-Sunday). The Mariners return to Safeco Field June 3 to face the Chicago White Sox in a three-game set. The Mariners are in the midst of 20 games in 20 days with their next day off June 13.
- Joe Saunders, who has struggled on the road, pitched well enough to win Wednesday — he allowed one run and four hits in 7.0 innings — and has allowed just one run in his last 29.2 innings against the Padres.
- Nick Franklin, just summoned from Tacoma, received his first MLB start and collected his first hit in the fifth inning.
- Mariners OF Michael Morse did not travel with the Mariners to San Diego. He stayed in Seattle so he could be re-examined for a quadriceps strain. Morse could miss 3-5 days and possibly rejoin the club in Minnesota.
- 1B Justin Smoak, out since Saturday with a strained oblique muscle, took batting practice Wednesday and pinch hit in the eighth inning.
- The Mariners Thursday optioned struggling RHP Brandon Maurer to AAA Tacoma and recalled INF Alex Liddi. Maurer sustained a 6-1 shellacking by the Padres Tuesday at Safeco Field and had a 2-7 record and 6.93 ERA in 10 starts.
|5/30||Thr||at SD||RHP Felix Hernandez (5-3) vs. RHP Andrew Cashner (3-2)|
|5/31||Fri||at Minn||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (5-1) vs. RHP Mike Pelfrey (3-5)|
|6/1||Sat||at Minn||RHP Aaron Harang (2-5) vs. RHP Kevin Correia (5-4)|
|6/2||Sun||at Minn||TBA vs. LHP Scott Diamond (3-4)|
|6/3||Mon||vs. CWS||LHP Joe Saunders (3-5) vs. LHP John Danks (0-0)|
|6/4||Tue||vs. CWS||RHP Felix Hernandez (5-4) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (6-2)|
|6/5||Wed||vs. CWS||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (5-1) vs. RHP Dylan Axelrod (3-3)|