GAME: Astros (23-42, 5th, AL West, -16.0 GB) at Mariners (27-37, 4th, AL West, -11.0 GB). GAME #: 65. SERIES: 1st of 3 games. MEETING: 7th (Astros lead 4-2). WHEN: Monday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 2; Astros L 4. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
The best that can be said for the Mariners (27-37) after losing three of four to the Yankees, while scoring just two runs in their last 22 innings, is that they cannot fall into last place in the AL West before the end of the home stand. The last three games Monday through Wednesday are against the Houston Astros (23-42), the division’s basement occupant and a loser of four in a row.
But the Astros, a 2-0 victim in Kansas City Sunday, have already taken two series from the Mariners, beating Seattle four out of six. Houston, a 100-game loser in each of the past two seasons, even pinned on Hisashi Iwakuma his only loss April 23, defeating him 3-2 despite Iwakuma’s season-high 11 strikeouts.
Iwakuma gets the call Monday ranked No. 1 in the majors in WHIP (0.82), No. 3 in WAR for pitchers (3.8), No. 3 in strikeouts-to-walks ratio (6.07) and No. 4 in ERA (1.94). He’s not the leader in the clubhouse for the AL Cy Young award — Boston’s Clay Buchholtz is 9-0, 1.71 — but he’s every bit the All-Star candidate that Felix Hernandez is.
The Mariners get their first extended look Monday at Houston LHP Dallas Keuchel, a converted reliever who threw 2.0 innings against Seattle out of the bullpen April 10. A closer look:
MARINERS: Hisashi Iwakuma (6-1, 1.94 ERA, 0.82 WHIP)
The 32-year-old Iwakuma, a Tokyo native in his second major league season, both with Seattle, will make his 14th start and second against the Astros. Iwakuma, in the midst of what should become an All-Star season, pitched well enough to win his last start June 5 — 8.0 scoreless — but that was the game in which the Mariners and White Sox played 13 scoreless frames before Chicago won in 16 innings.
- LAST START: June 5 vs. Chicago, took a no-decision in Seattle’s 7-5, 16-inning loss; 0 earned runs on 3 hits in 8.0 innings; 5 strikeouts, 0 walks, 0 home runs, 99 pitches, 69 for strikes.
- LAST VS. ASTROS: April 23 at Houston, lost 3-2; 2 earned runs on 6 hits in 5.0 innings; 11 strikeouts, 3 walks, 1 home run, 93 pitches, 62 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. ASTROS: 0-1, 3.60 ERA in 1 start covering 5.0 innings; 11 strikeouts, 3 walks, 1 home run, 1.80 WHIP.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 8-3, 1.99 ERA in 23 games, including 16 starts, covering 117.2 innings; 105 strikeouts, 28 walks, 10 home runs, 0.96 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Carlos Pena (0-for-3, .000), Jason Castro (0-for-2, .000), Chris Carter (1-for-5, .200).
- HATES TO FACE: Brandon Barnes (1-for-1, 1.000), Marwin Gonzalez (1-for-2, .500), Jose Altuve (1-for-3, .333).
- CURRENT ASTROS VS. IWAKUMA: 5-for-19, .263 ERA, 10 strikeouts, 4 walks, 1 home run, .417 on-base percentage.
ASTROS: LHP Dallas Keuchel (3-2, 4.70 ERA, 1.54 WHIP)
The 25-year-old Keuchel, a Tulsa, OK., native in his second major league season, both with Houston, will make his seventh start and first against the Mariners. Keuchel made a 2.0-inning relief appearance against the Mariners April 10, and didn’t join the Houston rotation until May 10. He has won two of his three decisions since, including his last one, 11-7 over Baltimore.
- LAST START: June 5 vs. Baltimore, won 11-7; 1 earned run on 5.0 hits in 6.0 innings; 3 strikeouts, 2 walks, 0 home runs, 100 pitches, 65 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: April 10, did not receive a decision in Houston’s 8-3 win; 0 earned runs in 2.0 innings; 1 strikeout, 2 walks.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 0-0, 0.00 ERA in 1 appearance covering 2.0 innings;1.00 WHIP.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: Same as career vs. Mariners.
- LOVES/HATES TO FACE: Only one Seattle hitter has faced Keuchel more than once. Michael Morse is 2-for-3 against him.
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. KEUCHEL: 2-for-9, .222 BA, 1 strikeout, 2 walks, 0 home runs, .364 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 get a day off Thursday, their first in 20 days.
- The Mariners will hit the road for three in Oakland and four in Anaheim against the L.A. Angels.
- The Mariners have dropped two in a row, four of five and six of their past eight contests. They have scored seven runs in their past four games and produced 10 hits in the last two.
- Felix Hernandez, who had a no-decision Sunday, has 22 career no-decisions when pitching at least 7.0 innings while allowing none or one earned runs. His 22 no-decisions with those conditions are the most in the majors since Hernandez made his debut in 2005.
- With a ninth-inning single off Mariano Rivera, Kyle Seager extended his hitting streak to 13 games. He is batting .373 during the streak. Seager is the first Mariner since Ichiro in 2010 to have two hitting streaks of 13 or more games in a season (Seager had a career-high 16-game streak April 11-27).
- Mariano Rivera’s save Sunday was career No. 37 against the Mariners (631st overall career).
- Brendan Ryan has hit safely in 18 of his past 25 games, hitting .310 during that stretch.
- The Mariners Sunday traded minor league infielder Vinnie Catricala to the Oakland Athletics for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Catricala, 24, hit .253 (44×184) with eight doubles, three home runs and 21 RBIs in 48 games for AA Jackson. The Mariners selected Catricala in the 10th round of the 2009 June draft out of the University of Hawaii. Catricala was designated for assignment June 2 when Seattle selected the contract RHP Jeremy Bonderman from AAA Tacoma.
|6/10||Mon||vs. Hou||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (6-1) vs. LHP Dallas Keuchel (2-2)|
|6/11||Tue||vs. Hou||RHP Aaron Harang (2-6) vs. RHP Bud Norris (5-4)|
|6/12||Wed||vs. Hou||RHP Jeremy Bonderman (1-1) vs. RHP Jordan Lyles (3-1)|