GAME: Blue Jays (53-60, 5th, AL East, -15.0 GB) at Mariners (52-61, 3rd, AL West, -12.5 GB) GAME #: 114. SERIES: 3rd of 3 games. MEETING: 6th (Twins lead 3-2). WHEN: Wednesday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 2; Blue Jays W 3. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
On May 7, the Tampa Bay Rays put up a second-inning four-spot against Toronto starter J.A. Happ when Desmond Jennings rocketed a line drive toward the box. This is how The Associated Press described the play: “The line drive that hit A.J. Happ in the head hit him so hard the ‘thwack’ could be heard up in the press box. The ball went all the way into the bullpen in foul territory halfway down the right-field line. Happ dropped face down at the front of the mound.”
“It was devastating,” said Happ’s teammate, R.A. Dickey. “I could barely watch it. You just don’t know what to think. It paralyzes you a little bit. And when it sounds like two bats, when you hear the sound off the bat and it sounds like it hits another bat, it’s scary, really scary. I just started praying on the spot.”
Last September, Oakland right-hander Brandon McCarthy was hit in the head by a line drive that fractured his skull and caused an epidural hemorrhage and brain contusion. He underwent surgery for six hours and didn’t pitch the rest of the season. In June, McCarthy suffered a seizure related to his head injury and missed two months.
Wednesday afternoon, in the third of three between the Blue Jays and Mariners, Happ will make his first major league start since May 7 when the Jennings line drive fractured his skull, and the ensuing fall caused a sprain of his right knee. If any Seattle opponent is worthy of a round of applause, it is Happ.
MARINERS: RHP Aaron Harang (5-10, 5.27 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
The 35-year-old Harang, a San Diego native in his 12th major league season and first with Seattle, will make his 19th start and first against the Blue Jays. Harang battled some tightness in his upper back last Friday that affected his command as he gave up seven hits and seven runs in five innings in an 11-8 loss at Baltimore. He’s been better at Safeco Field this year, where he’s 4-5 with a 4.34 ERA.
- LAST START: Aug. 2 at Baltimore, lost 11-8; 7 earned runs on 7 hits in 5.0 innings; 1 strikeout, 2 walks, 2 home runs, 91 pitches, 58 for strikes.
- LAST VS. BLUE JAYS: June 25, 2008, took a no-decision in Cincinnati’s 6-5 win; 5 earned runs on 7 hits in 5.2 innings; 3 strikeouts, 3 walks, 2 home runs, 118 pitches, 75 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. BLUE JAYS: 0-1, 4.97 ERA in 2 starts covering 12.2 innings; four strikeouts, 4 walks, 3 home runs, 1.26 ERA.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 5-6, 3.40 ERA in 14 starts covering 84.2 innings; 61 strikeouts, 19 walks, 8 home runs, 0.98 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Maicer Izturis (0-for-4, .000), Jose Reyes (2-for-15, .133), Jose Bautista (5-for-23, .217).
- HATES TO FACE: Josh Thole (7-for-11, .636), Mark DeRosa (5-for-17, .294), Emilio Bonifacio (2-for-7, .286).
- CURRENT BLUE JAYS VS. HARANG: 27-for-99, .273 BA, 20 strikeouts, 14 walks, 4 home runs, .379 on-base percentage.
BLUE JAYS: LHP J.A. Happ (2-2, 4.91 ERA, 1.54 WHIP)
The 30-year-old Happ, a Peru, IL., native in his seventh major league season and second with Toronto, will make his eighth start and first against the Mariners. The Blue Jays activated Happ from the 60-day disabled list to make the start. The left-hander has been out since May 7 when he was struck on the head by a line drive. Prior to his injury, Happ had three no-decisions in four starts. His last win: April 12 at Kansas City.
- LAST START: May 7 at Tampa Bay, took a no-decision in Toronto’s 6-4 win; 4 earned runs on 5 hits in 1.1 innings; 0 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 43 pitches, 25 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: Never pitched.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: No record
- AT SAFECO FIELD: Never pitched.
- LOVES/HATES TO FACE: Current Mariners have had 17 at-bats against Happ, Michael Saunders the most successful at 3-for-4, .750.
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. HAPP: 4-for-17, .235 BA, 1 strikeouts, 4 walks, 1 home runs, .381 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 have a nine-game road trip through Tampa Bay, Texas and Oakland.
- The loss by Felix Hernandez Tuesday was his first since May 25 at Texas. Hernandez allowed six runs, three earned.
- The leadoff home run allowed by Hernandez to Jose Reyes was only the second permitted by Hernandez in his career. He gave up a leadoff shot to Ian Kinsler of Texas July 16, 2011.
- Brad Miller hit his fourth triple of the season Tuesday that drove in two runs. The four triples leads all AL rookies.
- Kendrys Morales had one hit Tuesday and is 17-for-34 (.500) over his past eight games.
- The four errors by Seattle Tuesday was a season high.
- The Mariners Tuesday sent closer Tom Wilhelmsen to AAA Tacoma and recalled RHP Carter Capps. Wilhelmsen, with 24 saves in 29 chances, had not pitched since surrendering four runs without recording at out Aug. 1 at Boston. Wilhelmsen started against Iowa Tuesday and allowed three hits, including two home runs, and took the loss.
- Justin Smoak went 1-for-3 Tuesday, extending his hitting streak to seven games.
- Felix Hernandez has had three streaks of at least 12 consecutive starts in which he has not recorded a loss, including the one that ended Tuesday. He had a career-high 14 consecutive starts without a loss June 17-Aug. 27, 2012, and 12 straight Aug. 28, 2009-April 21, 2010. Scott Bankhead made 15 consecutive starts without a loss in 1989.
|8/7||Wed||vs. Tor||RHP Aaron Harang (5-10) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (2-2)|
|8/9||Fri||vs. Milw||LHP Joe Saunders (10-10) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse (7-7)|
|8/10||Sat||vs. Milw||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (10-5) vs. RHP Tyler Thomburg (1-0)|
|8/11||Sun||vs. Milw||RHP Felix Hernandez (11-5) vs. RHP Wily Peralta (7-11)|