GAME: Mariners (56-66, 3rd, AL West, -14.5 GB) at Rangers (71-52, 1st, AL West, +1.5 GA). GAME #: 123. SERIES: 3rd of 3 games. MEETING: 16th (Mariners lead 9-6). WHEN: Sunday, 12:05 p.m., Rangers Ballpark. STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Rangers W 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Monday in Houston, Texas right hander Yu Darvish fanned 15 batters, allowed one hit and issued one walk, missing a no-hitter only when catcher Carlos Corporan, batting .246, came up with one out in the eighth inning and hit Darvish’s first pitch for a home run. Darvish’s splendid outing almost replicated his performance against Houston April 2.
That day, Darvish’s first start of the season, he recorded 14 strikeouts and gave up one hit, a two-out, ninth-inning single to No. 9 hitter Marwin Gonzalez that broke up a perfect game. True, Darvish faced the feeble Astros, but still: No other major league pitcher since 1900 won two games in his career in which he had at least 14 strikeouts, allowed no more than one hit and walked one or fewer batters.
Darvish’s 15 strikeouts Monday gave him 207 for the season in 23 starts. That’s the fewest starts into a season that a pitcher needed to reach 200 Ks since 2002, when Curt Schilling hit that mark in his 22nd start and Arizona teammate Randy Johnson did it in start number 23.
Since Darvish joined the Rangers last year following a distinguished career in Japan, he is 28-14 with 3.34 ERA in 52 starts. Three of his 11 defeats — 21.4 percent — have been administered by the Mariners, who are 1-1 against Darvish this season and face him again Sunday when Seattle and Texas close out a three-game series at Rangers Ballpark.
Although erased Saturday night 15-3, in a game in which Texas battered Felix Hernandez for five runs in the second inning and Oliver Perez and Charlie Furbush for eight more in the eighth, the Mariners can come away with a series win. Ideally, they won’t have to use Perez. This is what Perez has done against the last 10 hitters he’s faced:
Four-pitch walk (Craig Gentry), hit batter (Leonys Martin), double (Gentry), walk (Elvis Andrus), single (Ian Kinsler), single (Adrian Beltre), single (Alex Rios), walk (Mitch Moreland), strikeout (Geovany Soto), single (Jurickson Profar).
Despite Darvish’s record against Seattle, the Mariners bat .160 against him, and Kyle Seager — 6-for-16, .375 BA — is the lone Seattle player to experience any success.
Darvish will oppose Erasmo Ramirez, who is 4-0, despite an unsightly 7.06 ERA, largely because he great run support when he pitches. A closer look:
MARINERS: RHP Erasmo Ramirez (4-0, 7.06 ERA, 1.50 WHIP)
The 23-year-old Ramirez, a Nicaragua native in his second major league season, and second with Seattle, will make his sixth start and first against the Rangers. The 23-year-old continued getting strong run support as he won his fourth straight decision Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays. Ramirez, who missed the first three months with an elbow problem, has allowed at least three runs in each of his five starts.
- LAST START: Aug. 13 at Tampa, won 5-4; 4 earned runs on 7 hits in 5.1 innings; 7 strikeouts, 1 walk, 2 home runs, 86 pitches, 61 for strikes.
- LAST VS. RANGERS: April 12, 2012, pitching in relief, did not factor in the decision, a 6-3 loss; 1 earned run on 2 hits in 1.1 innings; 0 strikeouts, 0 walks, 0 home runs, 24 pitches, 12 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. RANGERS: 0-0, 4.15 ERA in 2 games, 0 starts, covering 4.1 innings; 3 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 1.15 WHIP.
- AT RANGERS BALLPARK: Same as career vs. Rangers.
- LOVES TO FACE: Elvis Andrus (0-for-2, .000), A.J. Pierzynski (0-for-2, .000).
- HATES TO FACE: Alex Rios (1-for-1, 1.000), Adrian Beltre (1-for-2, .500), Ian Kinsler (1-for-3, .333).
- CURRENT RANGERS VS. RAMIREZ: 3-for-14, .214 BA, 3 strikeouts, 0 walks, 0 home runs, .214 on-base percentage.
RANGERS: RHP Yu Darvish (12-5, 2.64 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
The 26-year-old Darvish, an Osaka, Japan, native in his second major league season, both with Texas, will make his 24th start and third against the Mariners. Darvish is 4-1 with a 1.31 ERA in his past five starts since coming off the DL July 22. He struck out a career-high 15 and allowed one hit in a 2-1 win over the Astros Monday. He is 3-3 with a 5.00 ERA in six career starts vs. Seattle.
- LAST START: Aug. 12 at Houston, won 2-1; 1 earned run on 1 hit in 8.0 innings; 15 strikeouts, 1 walk, 1 home run, 115 pitches, 74 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: April 19, won 7-0; 0 earned runs on 3 hits in 7.0 innings; 8 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 108 pitches, 61 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 3-3, 5.00 ERA in 6 starts covering 36.0 innings; 41 strikeouts, 20 walks, 1 home run, 1.33 WHIP.
- AT RANGERS BALLPARK: 17-5, 3.29 ERA in 27 starts covering 177.2 innings; 218 strikeouts, 71 walks, 18 home runs, 1.19 WHIP.
- LOVE TO FACE: Kendrys Morales (2-for-18, .111), Raul Ibanez (1-for-9, .111), Dustin Ackley (2-for-15, .133),
- HATES TO FACE: Kyle Seager (6-for-16, .375).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. DARVISH: 17-for-106, .160 BA, 35 strikeouts, 15 walks, 0 home runs, .264 on-base percentage.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT ROAD TRIP: Three at Tampa Bay (Tuesday-Thursday), three at Texas (Friday-Sunday), three at Oakland (Monday-Wednesday). Following a day off Thursday, the Mariners begin a six-game home stand Friday vs. the Angels and Rangers.
- The Mariners have lost 13 of their past 20 games.
- Felix Hernandez allowed a season-high five walks in losing to the Rangers 15-3 Saturday night. Hernandez hadn’t allowed more than three earned runs in his previous nine starts since Jun 20. He’s 0-3 with a 5.55 ERA in four starts against Texas this season.
- The five runs allowed by Hernandez in the second inning were the most he has allowed in a frame since also allowing five June 20 to the Angels.
- The 15 runs ceded by the Mariners fell one shy of the season-high 16 they allowed to the Houston Astros April 9.
- The 12-run loss matched the worst of the season. The Mariners fell 12-0 to the Angels May 21.
- Kyle Seager hit his 19th home run Saturday and extended his hitting streak at Rangers Ballpark to 13 games.
- Hisashi Iwakuma improved his career record to 20-11 with his win over the Rangers Friday night. Four other pitchers in Mariners history reached 20 career wins in as few as 31 decisions: Dave Fleming (20-11), Freddy Garcia (20-9), Gil Meche (20-10) and Joel Pineiro (20-6).
|8/18||Sun||at Tex||RHP Erasmo Ramirez (4-0) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (12-5)|
|8/19||Mon||at Oak||RHP Aaron Harang (5-10) vs. RHP Jarrod Parker (8-6)|
|8/20||Tue||at Oak||LHP Joe Saunders (10-12) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (1-1)|
|8/21||Wed||at Oak||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (11-6) vs. RHP A.J. Griffin (10-8)|