GAME: Brewers (51-66, 5th, NL Central, -19.5 GB) at Mariners (53-63, 4th, AL West, -13.5 GB) GAME #: 117. SERIES: 3rd of 3 games. MEETING: 3rd (Brewers lead 2-0). WHEN: Sunday, 1:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 2; Brewers W 2. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
It’s not often Felix Hernandez endures a clinker, but he did his last time out, allowing six runs (three earned) on nine hits in 5.0 innings in a 7-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays Aug. 6 at Safeco Field. Despite the setback, his first in a 12-start stretch dating to May 25 against Texas, Hernandez remains a viable Cy Young candidate.
He’s probably not going to catch Detroit’s Max Scherzer, who already has 17 wins and pitches for a club that figures to win many more. But he still leads the American League in ERA (2.39) and innings pitched (165.2) and ranks highly in a couple of other significant pitching categories.
Hernandez is second in the AL in Wins Above Replacement for pitchers (5.3), a tad below Chris Sale’s 5.4. He’s also sixth in walks per nine innings (1.73) and seventh in WHIP (1.09). But Hernandez probably needs another great stretch such as the one just ended if he’s going to claim his second Cy.
Sunday, Hernandez will make his first career start against the Milwaukee Brewers, who crushed the Mariners 10-0 Saturday night and have beaten Seattle a combined 20-5 in the first two games.
This is an important start not only for Hernandez’s Cy Young chances, but for the Mariners, who have one of their toughest road trips of the season looming. After Sunday, the Mariners play three at Tampa Bay, the second-place team in the AL East, and six at Texas and Oakland, the top two teams in the AL West.
The Mariners (53-63) still have a chance at a .500 record, but the trip could bury them, rendering them an afterthought for the remainder of the summer.
Hernandez will work opposite Wily Peralta, a Dominican who has never pitched against Seattle. A closer look:
MARINERS: RHP Felix Hernandez (11-5, 2.39 ERA, 1.09 WHIP)
The 27-year-old Hernandez, in his ninth major league season, all with Seattle, will make his 25th start and first against the Brewers. The American League ERA leader lost for the first time in his last 13 starts in a five-inning outing last Tuesday when he gave up six runs (three earned) and nine hits in five innings against Toronto.
- LAST START: Aug. 6, vs. Toronto, lost 7-2; 6 earned runs on 9 hits in 5.0 innings; 3 strikeouts, 3 walks, 3 home runs, 101 pitches, 60 for strikes.
- LAST VS. BREWERS: Never pitched.
- CAREER VS. BREWERS: No record.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 55-38, 3.11 ERA in 130 starts covering 901.2 innings; 867 strikeouts, 244 walks, 70 home runs, 1.18 WHIP.
- LOVES/HATES TO FACE: Hernandez has faced two members of Milwaukee’s roster. Former Mariner Yuniesky Betancourt is 1-for-12, .083, and Carlos Gomez is 1-for-6.
- CURRENT BREWERS VS. HERNANDEZ: 2-for-18, .111 BA, 3 strikeouts, 0 walks, 0 home runs, .111 on-base percentage.
BREWERS: RHP Wily Peralta (8-11, 4.42 ERA, 1.44 WHIP)
The 24-year-old Peralta, a native of the Dominican Republic in his second major league season, both with Milwaukee, will make his 25th start and first against the Mariners. After two duds to finish an otherwise sensational July, Peralta’s 6.1 solid innings in San Francisco on Tuesday represented a bounce-back. “I think I needed an outing like that,” he said.
- LAST START: Aug. 6 at San Francisco, won 3-1; 1 earned run on 5 hits in 6.1 innings; 6 strikeouts, 2 walks, 0 home runs, 108 pitches, 67 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: Never pitched.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: No record.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: Never pitched.
- LOVE/HATES TO FACE: Only one Mariner, Michael Morse, has faced Peralta. Morse had two at-bats with two walks.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT HOME STAND: Three vs. Toronto (Monday-Wednesday), three vs. Milwaukee Friday-Sunday. The Mariners have Monday off, then embark upon a nine-game road trip through Tampa Bay, Texas and Oakland.
- The Mariners drew 46,027 for Ken Griffey Jr.’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the first sellout of the season at Safeco Field.
- The Mariners managed four hits Saturday, tied for the sixth fewest of the season.
- The six earned runs allowed by Hisashi Iwakuma matched his season high (also July 9 vs. Boston).
- Justin Smoak went 0-for-4 Saturday and had his nine-game hitting streak snapped.
|8/11||Sun||vs. Milw||RHP Felix Hernandez (11-5) vs. RHP Wily Peralta (8-11)|
|8/13||Tue||at TB||RHP Erasmo Ramirez (3-0) vs. RHP Chris Archer (6-4)|
|8/14||Wed||at TB||RHP Aaron Harang (5-10) vs. LHP David Price (6-5)|
|8/11||Thr||at TB||LHP Joe Saunders (10-11) vs. TBA|