GAME: Yankees (34-25, 2nd, AL East, -1.5 GB) at Mariners (26-34, 4th, AL West, -11.0 GB). GAME #: 61. SERIES: 1st of 4 games. MEETING: 4th (Mariners lead 2-1). WHEN: Thursday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Yankees W 3. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Aaron Harang has spent a dozen years knocking around major league baseball and enters Thursday still having never faced the New York Yankees. Harang almost saw them in mid-May when Seattle played a three-game set at Yankee Stadium, but was scratched from his scheduled start. That’s not expected to happen when the Mariners and Bronx Bombers hook up in the first of four at Safeco Field.
After a miserable start with Seattle, Harang is coming off a pair of nice starts, with one earned run allowed in his past 15 innings. He needs another extended start after the Mariners used up seven pitchers in an epic 7-5, 16-inning loss to the Chicago White Sox Wednesday.
The Mariners don’t have a lot of fresh arms in their bullpen after that marathon (only Tom Wilhelmsen didn’t pitch), so it will be incumbent on Harang to deliver a lengthy outing. He’ll face a Yankees team coming off a 6-4 win over Cleveland and second in the AL East, 1.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox.
The series marks former Mariner Ichiro’s first actual return to Safeco Field. The former Seattle icon was traded to New York late in July and played his first series with the Yankees, in town at the time, before he departed Seattle.
This will be Ichiro’s fourth series against Seattle since the trade. In nine games against his former team, Ichiro is hitting just .206 (7-for-34) with a .250 on-base percentage. For the Yankees this year, Ichiro is hitting .266. After a .247 May, Ichiro is hitting .333 in June.
Before looking at Thursday’s pitching probables, a few takeaways from the 16-inning game Wednesday:
- After the White Sox and Mariners slogged through 13 scoreless innings, they each scored five times in the 14th inning. That marked the first time in MLB history both scored at least five runs in a game that was scoreless through nine.
- White Sox and Mariners combined for 12 runs after the ninth, tying an AL record for most runs scored in extra innings. A’s and Rangers also scored 12 July 3, 1983.
- When Kyle Seager hit the grand slam in the 13th, he became the first player in history to have a game-tying slam in extra innings.
MARINERS: RHP Aaron Harang (2-5, 5.82 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)
The 35-year-old Harang, a San Diego native in his 12th major league season and first with Seattle, will make his ninth start and first against the Yankees. Harang allowed just one earned run over his last 15 innings as he’s rebounded from a rough stretch with two quality starts.
LAST START: June at Minnesota, took a no-decision in Seattle’s 5-4 loss; 0 earned runs on 4 hits in 6.0 innings; 4 strikeouts, 2 walks, 0 home runs, 98 pitches, 62 for strikes.
- LAST VS. YANKEES: Never faced.
- CAREER VS. YANKEES: No record.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 3-3, 2.28 ERA in 7 starts covering 43.1 inning; 37 strikeouts, 11 walks, 3 home runs, 0.90 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Ichiro (1-for-16, .063), Vernon Wells (1-for-6, .167), Travis Hafner (3-for-14, .214).
- HATES TO FACE: Lyle Overbay (11-for-24, .458).
- CURRENT YANKEES VS. HARANG: 21-for-71, .296 BA, 8 strikeouts, 4 walks, 2 home runs, .342 on-base percentage.
YANKEES: RHP Phil Hughes (2-4, 5.37 ERA, 1.43 WHIP)
The 26-year-old Hughes, a Santa Ana, CA., native in his seventh major league season, all with New York, will make his 12th start and second against the Mariners. Hughes opened the season with two losses, had no-decisions in his next three, won two in a row and now has two more losses and two no-decisions in his last four. Hughes has allowed at five earned runs in a game four times and is coming off a poor outing against Boston.
- LAST START: June 1 vs. Boston, lost 11-1; 5 earned runs on 7 hits in 4.1 innings; 7 strikeouts, 2 walks, 1 home run, 100 pitches, 67 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: May 15 at Yankee Stadium, lost 12-2; 0 strikeouts, 2 walks, 1 home run, 36 pitches, 23 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 4-3, 3.29 ERA in 10 games, including 7 starts, covering 42.0 innings; 28 strikeouts, 13 walks, 4 home runs, 1.42 WHIP.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 3-0, 1.20 ERA in four games, including 2 starts, covering 15.0 innings; 11 strikeouts, 5 walks, 0 home runs, 1.06 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Endy Chavez (0-for-6, .000), Michael Saunders (2-for-11, .182), Kendrys Morales (2-for-9, .222).
- HATES TO FACE: Michael Morse (2-for-4, .500), Jason Bay (5-for-15, .333), Kyle Seager (2-for-7, .286).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. HUGHES: 25-for-95, .263 BA, 27 strikeouts, 9 walks, 3 home runs, .327 on-base percentage.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT HOME STAND: Three vs. the White Sox (Monday-Wednesday), four vs. the Yankees (Thursday-Sunday), three vs. the Astros (Monday-Wednesday). The Mariners are amid 20 games in 20 days with their next day off June 13.
- Wednesday’s was just the second game in franchise history where both teams were held scoreless through 13 innings. The other occurred Aug. 12, 2009, which the Mariners won 1-0 against Chicago on a walk-off single by Ken Griffey Jr.
- Hisashi Iwakuma held the White Sox scoreless for 8.0 innings, lowering his ERA from 2.13 to 1.94. Iwakuma has not allowed a run in 21.2 innings.
- Kendrys Morales extended his hitting streak to seven games and is hitting .387 over that stretch.
- Mariners made three roster moves Thursday, calling up C Brandon Bantz from AAA Tacoma, optioning Carlos Triunfel to the Rainiers, and placing OF Franklin Gutierrez on the 60-day disabled list retroactive to April 23. Gutierrez will be eligible to come off June 22.
- OF Michael Morse was out of the lineup Wednesday for the sixth straight day with a strained right quadriceps, but is expected to play Thursday against the Yankees.
- Backup Jesus Sucre is not expected to miss too much playing time, according to manager Eric Wedge. Sucre suffered a hand injury Tuesday.
|6/6||Thr||vs. NYY||RHP Aaron Harang (2-5) vs. RHP Phil Hughes (2-4)|
|6/7||Fri||vs. NYY||RHP Jeremy Bonderman (0-1) vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda (6-4)|
|6/8||Sat||vs. NYY||LHP Joe Saunders (4-5) vs. LHP Andy Pettitte (4-3)|
|6/9||Sun||vs. NYY||RHP Felix Hernandez (7-4) vs. RHP David Phelps (3-3)|
|6/10||Mon||vs. Hou||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (6-1) vs. LHP Dallas Keuchel (2-2)|
|6/11||Tue||vs. Hou||RHP Aaron Harang (2-5) vs. RHP Bud Norris (5-4)|
|6/12||Wed||vs. Hou||RHP Jeremy Bonderman (0-1) vs. RHP Jordan Lyles (3-1)|