GAME: Mariners (37-48, 4th, AL West, -12.5 GB) at Reds (49-36, 3rd, NL Central, -3.5 GB). GAME #: 86. SERIES: 1st of 3 games. MEETING: 1st (first since 2010). WHEN: Friday, 4:10 p.m., Great American Ballpark. STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Reds W 3. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Of all the starts Aaron Harang will make this season, none will of greater import to him than Friday’s, when he faces the Cincinnati Reds in the first of three games at Great American Ballpark. Harang pitched for the Reds for eight years (2003-10), winning 75 of his career total of 108 victories.
Although Harang has twice pitched against the Reds, once when he played for Oakland early in his career, the other when he was with the L.A. Dodgers (2012), he has never faced Cincinnati at the Great American Ballpark, where he went 37-39 before signing with San Diego in free agency Dec. 6, 2010.
He’ll take a nice stat into the game: Harang has one victory, two losses and three no-decisions in his last six outings, but he walked only four batters in those contests, a span covering 35.1 innings. He issued no walks in his last start, a no-decision against the Chicago Cubs.
The Mariners, 37-48 after losing 5-4 to Texas Thursday night in Arlington, are 8-1 all-time against Cincinnati, including 3-0 at the Great American Ballpark. Seattle’s last visit there came in 2002 when the Mariners swept a three-game series behind winning pitchers Joel Pineiro, Freddy Garcia and James Baldwin. That was the first series Ken Griffey Jr. played against the Mariners following his 1999 trade from Seattle to the Reds.
Harang, originally scheduled to oppose Mat Latos, will instead face Mike Leake, weather permitting. The Reds were rained out Thursday and more bad weather is forecast throughout the weekend. A closer look:
MARINERS: RHP Aaron Harang (3-7, 5.08 ERA, 1.23 ERA)
The 35-year-old Harang, a San Diego native in his 12th major league season and first with Seattle, will make his 14th start and first against the Reds. Harang has taken two no-decisions in his past two starts and will be seeking his first victory since June 11 when he defeated Houston with a complete-game shutout. He has allowed seven earned runs in his past three outings.
- LAST START: June 29 vs. Chicago Cubs, took a no-decision in Seattle’s 5-3 loss; 3 earned runs on 5 hits in 8.0 innings; 1 strikeout, 0 walks, 1 home run, 105 pitches, 71 for strikes.
- LAST VS. REDS: July 4, 2012, pitching for the Dodgers, won 4-1; 1 earned run on 3 hits in 7.0 innings; 5 strikeouts, 1 walk, 1 home run, 84 pitches, 54 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. REDS: 2-0, 1.38 ERA in 2 starts covering 13.0 innings; 11 strikeouts, 3 walks, 1 home run; 0.85 WHIP.
- AT GREAT AMERICAN BALLPARK: 37-39, 4.19 ERA in 112 starts covering 701.1 innings; 595 strikeouts, 201 walks, 108 home runs, 1.29 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Cesar Izturis (0-for-17, .000), Brandon Phillips (0-for-3, .000), Shin-Soo Choo (1-for-5, .200).
- HATES TO FACE: Xavier Paul (4-for-5, .800), Ryan Ludwick (14-for-36, .389), Zack Cozart (1-for-3, .333).
- CURRENT REDS VS. HARANG: 22-for-80, .275 BA, 12 strikeouts, 4 walks, 4 home runs, .310 on-base percentage.
REDS: RHP Mike Leake (7-3, 2.52 ERA, 1.12 WHIP)
The 25-year-old Leake, a San Diego native in his fourth major league season, all with Cincinnati, will make his 17th start and first against the Mariners. Leake took a pair of no-decisions in his past two starts and won his two previous before that. In four games this season, he has not allowed an earned run. In his best start, he tossed 9.0 shutout innings May 15 at Miami.
- LAST START: June 29 at Texas, took a no-decision in a 6-4 victory; 1 earned run on 3 hits in 7.0 innings; 4 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 93 pitches, 59 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: Never pitched.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: No record.
- AT GREAT AMERICAN BALLPARK: 20-14, 4.39 ERA in 52 games, including 51 starts, covering 307.1 innings; 211 strikeouts, 75 walks, 46 home runs, 1.34 WHIP.
- LOVES/HATES TO FACE: Current Mariners have had 32 at-bats against Leake. Henry Blanco, Raul Ibanez and Michael Morse all have two hits against him.
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. LEAKE: 6-for-32, .188 BA, 5 strikeouts, 3 walks, 2 home runs, .257 on-base percentage.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT ROAD TRIP: Three at Texas (Tuesday-Thursday), three at Cincinnati (Friday-Sunday). The Mariners are in the midst of 13 games in 13 days that will take them to the All-Star break.
- Raul Ibanez hit his 21st home run Thursday and needs eight to tie Ted Williams’ 1960 single-season record for most homers by a 41-year-old. Ibanez went 4-for-5 in the Mariners’ 5-4 loss.
- Hisashi Iwakuma, who had a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning Thursday only to lose, hasn’t won sine June 10. He’s 7-4, 2.60 after starting out 7-1, 1.79. He’s also 0-3 with a 5.54 ERA in his last four starts.
- Thirty-eight of Seattle’s 85 games, including Thursday’s, have been decided by two or fewer runs. The Mariners are 17-21 in those games. The Mariners have played 13 extra-inning games and are 6-7 in those.
- Mariners have 10 or more hits in each of their past five games and have homered in 12 consecutive games.
- The Mariners signed Greifer Andrade, a 16-year-old outfielder from Venezuela, according to MLB.com. Andrade is ranked No. 20 on MLB.com’s Top International Prospects list.
- Jesus Montero, sidelined the past five weeks following surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee, will return to action Friday as a DH in an Arizona Rookie League game.
- Rosters for the American League All-Star Game will be announced Saturday. Seattle has three candidates: starting pitchers Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma and reliever Oliver Perez. The Mariners have not had a position player selected to the ASG since 2010 (Ichiro).
- Catcher Kelly Shoppach, released last week, signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals.
|7/5||Fri||at Cin||RHP Aaron Harang (3-7) vs. RHP Mike Leake (7-3)|
|7/6||Sat||at Cin||RHP Jeremy Bonderman (1-2) vs. RHP Bronson Arroyo (7-6)|
|7/7||Sun||at Cin||LHP Joe Saunders (6-8) vs. RHP Homer Bailey (5-6)|
|7/8||Mon||vs. Bos||RHP Felix Hernandez (8-4) vs. LHP Jon Lester (8-4)|
|7/9||Tue||vs. Bos||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (7-4) vs. TBA|
I’m thinking we’ll be lucky to win one of the three games against the Reds with Harang, Bonderman and Saunders going against Leake, Arroyo and Bailey. Bailey has a chance to be the second Reds pitcher to throw consecutive no-hitters since Johnny Vander Meer did it in 1938 against the Boston Bees and Brooklyn Dodgers (in the first night game at Ebbets Field).