GAME: Mariners (55-63, 3rd, AL West, -13.0 GB) at Rays (66-51, 2nd, AL East, -4.0 GB). GAME #: 119. SERIES: 2nd of 3 games. MEETING: 2nd (Mariners lead 1-0). WHEN: Wednesday, 4:10 p.m., Tropicana Field. STREAKS: Mariners W 2; Rays L 6. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
David Price, a three-time All-Star and the 2012 American League Cy Young award winner, has made 137 starts for the Tampa Bay Rays since they selected him No. 1 overall in the 2007 amateur draft. Price made his major league debut Sept. 14, 2008, and the Rays have faced the Mariners 37 times. No once have they used the Murfreesboro, TN., native.
The Mariners have done well to have missed Price’s turns in Tampa’s rotation. The 27-year-old ex-Vanderbilt hurler has posted five winning seasons out of six and became a 20-game winner for the first time last season when his 2.56 ERA led the American League and was comparable to what Felix Hernandez’s mark (2.28) is now.
The Mariners won’t miss Price’s turn this time. Price is the latest in a string of ex-Cy Young winners to face the Mariners this season when Seattle and Tampa play the second of three at Tropicana Field with a scheduled first pitch at 4:10 p.m.
Despite an inconsistent offense, which received two home runs out of Brad Miller in a 5-4 win in the series opener Tuesday, the Mariners haven’t done badly against former Cy Youngers. They have wins over Jake Peavy (7-4) and Justin Verlander (2-0), losses to R.A. Dickey (3-1) and Bartolo Colon (10-2 and 6-3), and a no-decision against CC Sabathia.
If the Mariners are going to beat Price, they will have to do so with Aaron Harang on the mound. Harang has lost his last two decisions, allowed 14 earned runs in his last two outings, is 1-3, 8.63 over last five, and hasn’t won since July 22 against Cleveland.
But maybe Seattle’s bats are heating up. The Mariners had 12 hits Tuesday in getting their nine-day, nine-game road trip off to a good start.
MARINERS: RHP Aaron Harang (5-10, 5.79 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)
The 35-year-old Harang, a San Diego native in his 12th major league season and first with Seattle, will make his 20th start and first against the Rays. Harang hasn’t gone beyond five innings in his last three, including a two-inning stint in his most recent when he yielded seven runs on five hits and three walks to Toronto. The long-time NL veteran has never pitched in St. Petersburg, although, oddly, he made his first career start — May 25, 2002 — against the Rays.
- LAST START: Aug. 7 vs. Toronto, took a no-decision in Seattle’s 9-7 win; 7 earned runs on 5 hits in 2.0 innings; 0 strikeouts, 3 walks, 2 home runs, 53 pitches, 31 for strikes.
- LAST VS. RAYS: May 25, 2002, pitching for Oakland, defeated the Rays 6-0; 0 runs, 3 hits in 7.0 innings; 10 strikeouts, 3 walks, 0 home runs, 101 pitches, 61 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. RAYS: 1-0, 0.00 ERA in 1 start covering 7.0 innings; 10 strikeouts, 3 walks, 0 home runs, 0,85 WHIP.
- AT TROPICANA FIELD: Never pitched.
- LOVES TO FACE: Yunel Escobar (0-for-4, .000), Sam Fuld (0-for-3, .000), Kelly Johnson (1-for-7, .143), James Loney (4-for-18, .222).
- HATES TO FACE: Jose Molina (1-for-1, 1.000), Luke Scott (5-for-19, .263).
- CURRENT RAYS VS. HARANG: 12-for-59, .203 BA, 9 strikeouts, 5 walks, 1 home run, .266 on-base percentage.
RAYS: RHP David Price (6-5, 3.17 ERA, 1.05 WHIP)
The 27-year-old Price, in his sixth major league season, all with Tampa, will make his 18th start and first against the Mariners. A 20-game winner last season, Price is coming off a pair of no-decisions following three consecutive victories. Price works deep into games — he has three complete games in his last seven outings. Price is a three-time All-Star.
- LAST START: Aug. 9 at L.A. Dodgers, took a no-decision in Tampa Bay’s 7-6 loss; 0 earned runs on 7 hits in 7.0 innings; 4 strikeouts, 0 walks, 0 home runs, 99 pitches, 63 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: Never pitched.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: No record.
- AT TROPICANA FIELD: 29-20, 2.74 ERA in 68 games, including 67 starts, covering 453.0 innings; 421 strikeouts, 132 walks, 35 home runs, 1.09 WHIP.
- LOVE/HATES TO FACE: Current Mariners have had 16 at-bats against Price, with four hits. Michael Morse is 2-for-3 and the Mariners have a .250 batting average.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT ROAD TRIP: Three at Tampa Bay (Tuesday-Thursday), three at Texas (Friday-Sunday), three at Oakland (Aug. 19-21). Following a day off Aug. 22, the Mariners will begin a six-game home stand Aug. 23 vs. the Angels and Rangers.
- Rookie Brad Miller has hit four home runs this season and all came in multi-homer games. In addition to the pair he hit Tuesday, he also had a two-homer game July 19 at Houston.
- Miller, Seattle’s leadoff hitter, and Ben Zobrist, Tampa’s leadoff batter, hit two home runs Tuesday. That marked only the third time since 1916 that both leadoff hitters had multi-homers in the same game. The others were June 5, 1994 (Minnesota’s Chuck Knoblauch and Tony Phillips of Detroit) and July 8, 1965 (Houston’s Joe Morgan and Felipe Alou of the Milwaukee Braves).
- Danny Farquhar, with five saves in as many chances, has not allowed a run in his last 14.2 innings and has retired 28 of the last 30 batters to face him. In his last nine appearances, his ERA is 0.00.
- With two hits Tuesday, Justin Smoak has hit successfully in 11 of his past 12 games. Smoak is batting .375 with a 1.194 OPS in August.
- Dustin Ackley, who had a run-scoring triple, received the start in center Tuesday ahead of Michael Saunders, and acting manager Robby Thompson said Ackley will continue to get an extended look in center. Thompson said the club hopes to use the season’s final seven weeks to solidify Ackley’s situation.
- Tampa will give right-hander Alex Cobb the start in Thursday’s series finale. It will be Cobb’s first start since Eric Hosmer ripped a line drive off the side of Cobb’s head June 15 against Kansas City.
|8/14||Wed||at TB||RHP Aaron Harang (5-10) vs. RHP David Price (6-5)|
|8/15||Thr||at TB||LHP Joe Saunders (10-11) vs. RHP Alex Cobb (6-2)|
|8/16||Fri||at Tex||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (10-6) vs. LHP Derek Holland (9-6)|
|8/17||Sat||at Tex||RHP Felix Hernandez (12-5) vs. LHP Martin Perez (5-3)|
|8/18||Sun||at Tex||RHP Erasmo Ramirez (4-0) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (12-5)|