GAME: Blue Jays (51-60, 5th, AL East, -16.0 GB) at Mariners (52-59, 3rd, AL West, -12.0 GB) GAME #: 112. SERIES: 1st of 3 games. MEETING: 4th (Mariners lead 2-1). WHEN: Monday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners W 2; Blue Jays W 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Aside from obvious choices Randy Johnson (four Cy Youngs) and Alex Rodriguez (three MVPs and about to get his comeuppance), only three former Mariners have won one of the major American or National League awards — MVP, Cy Young, Rolaids Relief, Comeback Player. Can you guess?
The first of the ex-Mariners to cash was Ken Griffey Jr. who, in 2005 with Cincinnati, won the NL Comeback Player of the Year award after suffering a spate of injuries that derailed his bid to become baseball’s all-time home run king.
Reliever Rafael Soriano, infamously dealt to the Atlanta Braves in 2006 for the worthless Horacio Ramirez, came next, taking the 2010 AL Rolaids Relief award after saving 45 games for Tampa Bay. Soriano recorded 156 of his 160 career saves with teams other than Seattle, which originally signed him as an amateur free agent in 1996.
The third, knuckleball specialist R.A. Dickey, holds an amusing spot in Mariners lore. On Aug. 17, 2008, working 1.1 inning of relief following starter Ryan Feireabend, Dickey unleashed four wild pitches, setting the franchise single-game record.
Dickey departed Seattle after that season and has bivouacked since with Minnesota, the New York Mets and Toronto, his current employer. Dickey’s gig comes less than year removed from him claiming the NL Cy Young award for a season in which he went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA in 33 starts.
Dickey has regressed significantly, sporting an 8-11 ledger as the prepares to face his old team, the Mariners, Monday night at Safeco Field in the first of three.
The Seattle team Dickey will face is coming off a weird road trip. Swept in Boston (two walk-off losses) and an 11-8 loser in the series opener in Baltimore Friday, the Mariners rebounded with consecutive victories to salvage a 2-4 trip.
Monday, they’ll receive Hisashi Iwakuma’s 40th career start. Coming off a no-decision in Boston, Iwakuma is third in the AL with a 5.54 strikeout-to-walk ratio, second with a 0.97 WHIP and sixth in ERA at 2.76 ERA.
The trending downside: Iwakuma has allowed 11 home runs in last eight starts after yielding zero in the four before that.
MARINERS: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (10-4, 2.76 ERA, 0.97 WHIP)
The 32-year-old Iwakuma, a Tokyo native in his second major league season, both with Seattle, will make his 24th start and second against Toronto. Since a five-game skid from late June to mid-July, Iwakuma has rebounded to go 3-0 with two no-decisions. He has allowed two earned runs in his past three outings, none in his last two.
- LAST START: July 31 at Boston, took a no-decision in Seattle’s 5-4 loss; 0 earned runs on 7 hits in 5.2 innings; 4 strikeouts, 2 walks, 0 home runs, 102 pitches, 63 for strikes.
- LAST VS. BLUE JAYS: May 4 at Rogers Center, won 8-1; 1 earned run on 5 hits in 7.0 innings; 5 strikeouts, 3 walks, 0 home runs, 108 pitches, 74 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. BLUE JAYS: 2-0, 3.38 ERA in 3 games, including 2 starts, covering 16.0 innings; 20 strikeouts, 7 walks, 2 home runs, 1.18 WHIP.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 11-4, 2.49 ERA in 29 games, including 22 starts, covering 155.2 innings; 143 strikeouts, 31 walks, 19 home runs, 0.97 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Brett Lawrie (0-for-8, .000), Colby Rasmus (0-for-8, .000), Rajai Davis (1-for-6, .167), Maicer Izturis (1-for-6, .167).
- HATES TO FACE: Jose Bautista (2-for-4, .500), Edwin Encarnacion (3-for-8, .375).
- CURRENT BLUE JAYS VS. IWAKUMA: 8-for-48, .167 BA, 15 strikeouts, 5 walks, 2 home runs, .241 on-base percentage.
BLUE JAYS: RHP R.A. Dickey (8-11, 4.66 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)
The 38-year-old Dickey, a Nashville native in his 11th major league season and first with Toronto, will make his 24th start and second against Seattle. Last year’s National League Cy Young winner, Dickey had a strong outing during his last start against the A’s but was the victim of some sloppy defense. The Blue Jays committed four errors that led to a pair of unearned runs. Dickey took the no-decision but only allowed six hits and a walk. In his last five, the former Mariner has three losses and two no-decisions.
- LAST START: July 31 at Oakland, took a no-decision in Toronto’s 5-2 victory; 0 earned runs on 6 hits in 6.0 innings; 3 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 95 pitches, 63 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: May 4, lost 8-1; 7 earned runs on 6 hits in 6.0 innings; 5 strikeouts, 2 walks, 3 home runs, 100 pitches, 56 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 3-2, 5.72 ERA in 10 games, including 2 starts, covering 28.1 innings; 20 strikeouts, 11 walks, 5 home runs, 1.34 WHIP.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 2-6, 5.13 ERA in 8 starts covering 66.2 innings; 40 strikeouts, 30 walks, 10 home runs, 1.60 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Endy Chavez (0-for-6, .000), Humberto Quintero (1-for-6, .167), Michael Morse (7-for-30, .233).
- HATES TO FACE: Michael Saunders (2-for-3, .667), Raul Ibanez (11-for-30, .367), Kendrys Morales (2-for-7, .286).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. DICKEY: 24-for-92, .261 BA, 14 strikeouts, 6 walks, 6 home runs, .300 on-base percentage.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT HOME STAND: Three vs. Toronto (Monday-Wednesday), three vs. Milwaukee Friday-Sunday. Following the home stand, which will include Ken Griffey Jr.’s induction into the Mariners Hall of Fame Saturday, the Mariners will embark upon a nine-game road trip through Tampa Bay, Texas and Oakland.
- Danny Farquhar has two saves in his last two appearances (Saturday and Sunday), the first two of his major league career. In 5.1 innings on the road trip, Farquhar did not allow a hit or a run, struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter.
- Manager Eric Wedge won’t return to the team yet. GM Jack Zduriencik, addressing reporters in Baltimore, said no timetable has been established and that “We want him to comeback full-time and complete.”
- RHP Stephen Pryor is not expected to pitch for the remainder of the season after an MRI revealed that Pryor is suffering from an injured right triceps muscle. Pryor, 24, was originally placed on the 15-day DL April 15 with a torn right latissimus dorsi muscle.
- The Mariners gave struggling second baseman Nick Franklin the day off Sunday to mull his 0-for-21 slide.
- The Mariners had 18 at-bats with runners in scoring position Saturday, just the third time this season the Mariners have had 15 or more. The Mariners started out 1-for-10, but finished 4-for-8.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kendrys Morales is the third player in Mariners history with 15 or more hits over a five-game stretch. Prior to Sunday, Morales had gone 15-for-22 in the first five contests of the current road trip. Ichiro had 16 hits in a five-game span in 2006 and 15 hits in five games in 2004, while Alex Rodriguez had 15 hits in five games in April 1998. Morales went 0-for-4 Sunday.
|8/5||Mon||vs. Tor||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (10-4) vs. RHP R.A. Dickey (8-11)|
|8/6||Tue||vs. Tor||RHP Felix Hernandez (11-4) vs. RHP Josh Johnson (1-8)|
|8/7||Wed||vs. Tor||RHP Aaron Harang (5-10) vs. TBA|