GAME: Mariners (38-49, 4th, AL West, -12.5 GB) at Reds (50-37, 3rd, NL Central, -3.5 GB). GAME #: 88. SERIES: 3rd of 3 games. MEETING: 3rd (series tied 1-1). WHEN: Sunday, 10:10 a.m., Great American Ballpark. STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Reds W 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
One of the odder storylines early in the season involved the success lefty Joe Saunders had at Safeco Field, when he became “Safeco Joe,” vs. the nightmares he endured on the road. At one point, Saunders had a 4-1 record at home, but had lost six straight on the road with an ERA that topped 11.00. But he’s started to turn that around.
Saunders is 2-1 with a 1.57 ERA in his last four outings away from Seattle, including his first win ever at Texas in a 9-2 victory Tuesday. Sunday, he’ll have a chance to make it 3-1 when the Mariners and Reds close out their three-game series at the Great American Ballpark.
The Mariners would be looking at a sweep Sunday if they had been able to protect a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning. But they allowed the Reds to score nine runs with two outs while going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, which led to an embarrassing 13-4 loss. Seattle can still win the series, but is still seeking its first three-game wining streak since May 1-4, and also its first sweep of the season.
Saunders has no history of success against the Reds with an 0-2, 6.04 ERA in four career starts. His Sunday opposite, Bronson Arroyo, is 1-1, 1.50 ERA in four games against Seattle, but hasn’t seen the Mariners since June 24, 2007, when a Seattle lineup that included Jose Vidro, Ben Broussard, Jose Lopez and Richie Sexson defeated him 3-2. Dark days those: Miguel Batista started for Seattle.
MARINERS: LHP Joe Saunders (6-8, 4.74 ERA, 1.46 WHIP)
The 32-year-old Saunders, a Fairfax, VA., native in his ninth major league season and first with Seattle, will make his 18th start and first against the Reds. Saunders has two wins and two losses in his last four starts and is coming off a 9-2 win at Texas, despite giving up 10 hits. He will be looking to win back-to-back road starts for the first time this season.
- LAST START: July 2 at Texas, won 9-2; 2 earned runs on 10 hits in 6.2 innings; 5 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 107 pitches, 67 for strikes.
- LAST VS. REDS: July 19, 2012, took a no-decision in Arizona’s 7-6 loss; 3 earned runs on 4 hits in 6.0 innings; 5 strikeouts, 3 walks, 1 home run, 83 pitches, 53 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. REDS: 0-2, 6.04 ERA in 4 starts covering 22.1 innings; 15 strikeouts, 12 walks, 4 home runs, 1.74 WHIP.
- AT GREAT AMERICAN BALLPARK: 0-1, 4.73 ERA in 2 starts covering 13.1 innings; 9 strikeouts, 4 walks, 2 home runs, 1.27 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Ryan Ludwick (0-for-15, .000), Jack Hannahan (1-for-6, .167).
- HATES TO FACE: Shin-Soo Choo (3-for-5, .600), Cesar Izturis (2-for-3, .667), Brandon Phillips (3-for-12, .250).
- CURRENT REDS VS. SAUNDERS: 16-for-66, .242 BA, 6 strikeouts, 7 walks, 2 home runs, .311 on-base percentage.
REDS: RHP Bronson Arroyo (7-6, 3.50, 1.17 WHIP)
The 36-year-old Arroyo, a Key West, FL., native in his 15th major league season and eighth with Cincinnati, will make his 18th start and first against the Mariners. Arroyo pitched all six innings in an 8-1 win over the Giants that was called because of rain Monday. He allowed two hits and one run, marking a big turnaround after giving up seven runs in four innings to the A’s.
- LAST START: July 1 vs. San Francisco, won 8-1; 1 earned run on 2 hits in 6.0 innings; 3 strikeouts, 1 walk, 1 home run, 88 pitches, 60 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: June 24, 2007, lost 3-2; 3 earned runs on 10 hits in 7.0 innings; 4 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 109 pitches, 73 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 1-1, 1.50 ERA in 4 games, including 3 starts, covering 24.0 innings; 24 strikeouts, 3 walks, 0 home runs, 0.91 WHIP.
- AT GREAT AMERICAN BALLPARK: 49-40, 3.81 ERA in 126 starts covering 817.2 innings; 548 strikeouts, 210 walks, 118 home runs, 1.23 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Henry Blanco (1-for-17, .059), Jason Bay (6-for-27, .222), Endy Chavez (2-for-9, .222).
- HATES TO FACE: Raul Ibanez (5-for-12, .417), Brendan Ryan (6-for-20, .300).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. ARROYO: 20-for-87, .230 BA, 19 strikeouts, 5 walks, 1 home run, .269 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.
- Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma were selected to the American League All-Star Saturday. This marks the first time the Mariners have had more than one All-Star selection since 2011 when Hernandez, Michael Pineda and closer Brandon League made the team.
- The 13 runs allowed by the Mariners Saturday were the second most they have permitted this season, trailing a 16-9 loss to the Houston Astros April 9.
- The Mariners have hit at least one home run in 14 consecutive games. This is Seattle’s longest streak of games with at least one homer since running off 18 straight games Sept. 9-29, 2012.
- Raul Ibanez has hit successfully in 11 consecutive games (17-for-46). Ibanez did not play Saturday.
- Nick Franklin was out of the lineup Saturday as well after fouling a pitch off his knee Friday night. But he entered the game as a pinch hitter.
- The Mariners Saturday traded INF Alex Liddi to the Orioles and exchanged signing slots for international players as part of the deal. The Mariners designated Liddi for assignment 10 days ago when they selected Franklin from AAA Tacoma.
- When Brad Miller drilled two triples Friday night in Seattle’s 4-2 victory, he became the third Mariners’ rookie to accomplish that feat following Spike Owen June 28, 1983 and Danny Tartabull May 13, 1986.
|7/7||Sun||at Cin||LHP Joe Saunders (6-8) vs. RHP Bronson Arroyo (7-6)|
|7/8||Mon||vs. Bos||RHP Felix Hernandez (8-4) vs. LHP Jon Lester (8-4)|
|7/9||Tue||vs. Bos||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (8-4) vs. RHP Allen Webster (1-2)|
|7/10||Wed||vs. Bos||RHP Aaron Harang (4-7) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (5-3)|
|7/11||Thr||vs. Bos||RHP Jeremy Bonderman (1-3) vs. RHP Ryan Dempster (5-8)|