GAME: Mariners (35-47, 4th, AL West, -13.0 GB) at Rangers (48-34, 1st, AL West, +0.5 GA). GAME #: 83. SERIES: 1st of 3 games. MEETING: 11th (Rangers lead 7-3). WHEN: Tuesday, 5:05 p.m., Rangers Ballpark. STREAKS: Mariners L 2; Rangers W 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
The Mariners concluded an eight-game, three-team, 10-day home stand Sunday with a 7-6 thud against the Cubs (after trailing 7-1), a club with a record (35-45) only slightly less dismal than Seattle’s (35-47). Now the Mariners are in Arlington, TX., to face the Rangers and that doesn’t bode well, either. Not only have the Rangers taken seven of the 10 games between the teams this season, but Joe Saunders, Tuesday’s starter, always has trouble in Lone Star country.
This is how much: Saunders is 0-7, 9.91 ERA in seven career starts at Rangers Ballpark, making it the venue in which he most hates to pitch. To make matters worse, Saunders isn’t exactly oozing confidence, coming off an outing against Pittsburgh in which he lasted just 1.2 innings, a season low. He’s also 1-6, 6.46 in eight road starts this season.
The Mariners have not generated much offense against the Rangers this year, averaging 2.5 runs per game. Texas outscored Seattle 51-25.
The Mariners catch one break. They won’t have to face stud starter Yu Darvish (8-3, 2.78 ERA), the American League leader in strikeouts with 151. But they will have to face Justin Grimm and Derek Holland, who are a combined 10-2 lifetime against Seattle.
Saunders opposes Grimm, who has already defeated Seattle twice this season. A closer look:
MARINERS: LHP Joe Saunders (5-8, 4.98 ERA, 1.44 WHIP)
The 32-year-old Saunders, a Fairfax, VA., native in his ninth major league season and first with Seattle, will make his 17th start and fourth against the Rangers. Saunders is 0-2 with a 7.02 ERA in three starts against Texas this and has been battered in two of them. In his last outing, hr gave up three homers and six runs to the Pirates after he’d put up a 1.82 ERA over his previous five starts.
- LAST START: June 25 vs. Pittsburgh, lost 9-4; 6 earned runs on 6 hits in 1.2 innings; 1 strikeouts, 1 walk, 3 home runs, 51 pitches, 30 for strikes.
- LAST VS. RANGERS: May 24 at Safeco Field, lost 9-5; 6 earned runs on 8 hits in 5.0 innings; 7 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 home runs, 95 pitches, 56 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. RANGERS: 3-9, 6.60 ERA in 14 starts covering 75.0 innings; 57 strikeouts, 27 walks, 18 home runs, 1.52 WHIP.
- AT RANGERS BALLPARK: 0-7, 9.91 ERA in 7 starts covering 36.1 innings; 24 strikeouts, 19 walks, 14 home runs, 1.89 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Elvis Andrus (2-for-12, .167), David Murphy (2-for-10, .200).
- HATES TO FACE: Geovany Soto (4-for-6, .667), Jeff Baker (7-for-16, .438), Craig Gentry (3-for-7, .429).
- CURRENT RANGERS VS. SAUNDERS: 55-for-172, .320 BA, 21 strikeouts, 15 walks, 10 home runs, .374 on-base percentage.
RANGERS: RHP Justin Grimm (7-5, 5.56 ERA, 1.51 WHIP)
The 24-year-old Grimm, a Bristol, TN., native in his second major league season, both with Texas, will make his 15th start and fourth against the Mariners. Grimm is 2-0 with a 3.31 ERA in three starts against the Mariners. He won his last two starts despite going 5.0 innings in each. He is 5-2 despite a 6.55 ERA in his last eight starts.
- LAST START: June 26 at New York, won 8-5; 3 earned runs on 6 hits in 5.0 innings; 4 strikeouts, 0 walks, 1 home run, 78 pitches, 50 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: May 24 at Safeco Field, won 9-5; 3 earned runs on 10 hits in 6.1 innings; 5 strikeouts, 0 walks, 0 home runs, 88 pitches, 55 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 2-0, 3.31 ERA in 3 starts covering 16.1 innings; 16 strikeouts, 4 walks, 1 home run, 1.53 WHIP.
- AT RANGERS BALLPARK: 5-3, 5.25 ERA in 9 games, including 8 starts, covering 48.0 innings; 39 strikeouts, 12 walks, 5 home runs, 1.45 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Michael Saunders (0-for-3, .000), Jason Bay (0-for-2, .000), Kendrys Morales (2-for-8, .250).
- HATES TO FACE: Michael Morse (4-for-8, .500), Raul Ibanez (2-for-5, .400), Justin Smoak (3-for-8, .375), Kyle Seager (3-for-9, .333).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. GRIMM: 20-for-64, .313 BA, 14 strikeouts, 4 walks, 1 home run, .353 on-base percentage.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT ROAD TRIP: Three at Texas (Tuesday-Thursday), three at Cincinnati (Friday-Sunday). The Mariners return to Safeco Field July 8 for a two-team, seven-game home stand against the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels before the All-Star break.
- Brad Miller recorded his first major league hit Sunday, a fifth-inning double down the left-field line.
- Raul Ibanez extended his hitting streak Sunday to seven games with his 19th home run. It was also his 10th home run in June, matching the most by a Mariner in a single month since Edgar Martinez in May of 2003.
- Jason Bay hit his 10th homer Sunday. All have been solo shots.
- Sunday’s start by Jeremy Bonderman lasted 3.1 innings, his shortest outing of the season. That broke a streak of four consecutive quality starts.
- When Joe Saunders flew out to end Saturday’s game against the Cubs in the 11th inning, he became the first Seattle pitcher to bat in a non-National League city in more than 20 years. According to research by the Mariners, the last to do so was Seattle’s Mike Schooler in the 13th inning at Boston Aug. 11, 1990.
|7/2||Tue||at Tex||LHP Joe Saunders (5-8) vs. RHP Justin Grimm (7-5)|
|7/3||Wed||at Tex||RHP Felix Hernndez (8-4) vs. LHP Derek Holland (6-4)|
|7/4||Thr||at Tex||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (7-3) vs. LHP Martin Perez (2-1)|