GAME: Angels (55-70, 4th, AL West, -17.5 GB) at Mariners (58-67, 3rd, AL West, -14.5.0 GB). GAME #: 128. SERIES: 2nd of 3 games. MEETING: 15th (series tied 7-7). WHEN: Saturday, 6:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Angels W 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
It’s not often the Mariners get the better of a trade, but they certainly came out a winner — so far — in the Dec. 19, 2012 Jason Vargas-for-Kendrys Morales swap. Vargas, Seattle’s No. 2 starter last year, went 14-11 and was dispatched to the Angels because the Mariners had an overriding need for a bat in the middle of that order. Morales has provided that.
Morales is the club’s leading hitter (.286), first in RBIs (67) and multi-hit games (37), is second in runs (52), on-base percentage (.342) and extra-base hits (46), and third in home runs (17). All of his offensive numbers are either better, or project to be better, than they were with the Angels last year.
Batting .302 (37×122) since the All-Star break, Morales has provided the Mariners exactly the boost they bargained on, Friday night’s 2-0 loss in Eric Wedge’s return notwithstanding. Vargas hasn’t reciprocated on behalf of the Angels. He’s made only 16 starts because he sat out seven with a blood clot in his armpit, which was surgically removed June 26.
When he has pitched, Vargas has managed a 6-5 record, but his ERA is up over last year and so is his WHIP (1.41). Vargas will be a free agent this winter and has only a handful of starts remaining to demonstrate he’s worthy of the types of deals — roughly $50 million over four years — pitchers of his caliber and experience have typically received in recent years.
Saturday, he’s opposite Erasmo Ramirez, who has pitched himself into the Mariners rotation plans for next year with four consecutive victories and a winnable no-decision in his last start.Ramirez has lowered his ERA from 13.50 to 5.94.
MARINERS: RHP Erasmo Ramirez (4-0, 5.94 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)
The 23-year-old Ramirez, a Nicaragua native in his second major league season, both with Seattle, will make his seventh start and first against the Angels. Ramirez joined Seattle’s rotation July 11 and was shelled by the Red Sox, but since then won all four of his decisions. He had a fifth consecutive win in his sights in his last start at Texas Aug. 18, but came away with a no-decision.
- LAST START: Aug. 18 at Texas, took a no-decision in Seattle’s 4-3 loss; 1 earned run on 4 hits in 7.0 innings; 2 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 102 pitches, 66 for strikes.
- LAST VS. ANGELS: Sept. 25 at Anaheim, lost 5-4; 3 earned runs on 7 hits in 6.0 innings; 3 strikeouts, 0 walks, 2 home runs, 94 pitches, 65 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. ANGELS: 0-1, 4.50 ERA in 1 start covering 6.0 innings; 3 strikeouts, 0 walks, 2 home runs, 1.16 WHIP.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 2-2, 4.60 ERA in 11 games, including 7 starts, covering 47.0 innings; 39 strikeouts, 12 walks, 4 home runs, 1.50 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Mark Trumbo (0-for-3, .000), Chris Iannetta (0-for-2, .000).
- HATES TO FACE: Mike Trout (2-for-3, .667), Erick Aybar (1-for-3, .333), Josh Hamilton (1-for-3, .333).
- CURRENT ANGELS VS. RAMIREZ: 6-for-17, .353 BA, 0 strikeouts, 0 walks, 2 home runs, .353 on-base percentage.
ANGELS: LHP Jason Vargas (6-5, 3.92 ERA, 1.41 WHIP)
The 30-year-old Vargas, in his eighth major league season and first with the Angels, will make his 17th start and third against the Mariners, his former team (2009-12). Vargas has made two starts since being activated from the DL, and although his stamina has been there, the results haven’t as the lefty has allowed seven runs in 9.2 innings.
- LAST START: Aug. 18 vs. Houston, took a no-decision in L.A.’s 7-5 loss; 3 earned runs on 7 hits in 5.1 innings; 3 strikeouts, 3 walks, 1 home run, 95 pitches, 66 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: June 17, won 11-3; 2 earned runs on 4 hits in 7.0 innings; 9 strikeouts, 1 walk, 1 home run, 109 pitches, 73 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 1-1, 2.40 ERA in 2 starts covering 15.0 innings; 16 strikeouts, 3 walks, 3 home runs, 0.86 WHIP.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 21-21, 3.36 ERA in 60 games, including 56 starts, covering 369.2 innings; 254 strikeouts, 97 walks, 36 home runs, 1.16 WHIP/
- LOVE TO FACE: Henry Blanco (0-for-3, .000), Kyle Seager (0-for-7, .000), Raul Ibanez (1-for-6, .167).
- HATES TO FACE: Endy Chavez (4-for-11, .364), Michael Morse (2-for-7, .286), Kendrys Morales (5-for-19, .263).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. VARGAS: 15-for-74, .203 BA, 17 strikeouts, 3 walks, 4 home runs, .234 on-base percentage.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT HOME STAND: Three vs. L.A. Angels (Friday-Sunday), three vs. Texas (Monday-Wednesday). The home stand begins a run of 20 games in 20 days. Following the home stand, the Mariners will play four at Houston and four at Kansas City before returning to Safeco Field Sept. 6. The Mariners do not have a day off until Sept. 12.
- The 2-0 loss by Felix Hernandez Friday night was his first to the Angels this season after two wins.
- Hernandez posted 10 strikeouts, marking the fourth time this season that he has had double digits in whiffs. Despite the loss, Hernandez is 7-3 with a 2.72 ERA over his past 16 outings
- Dustin Ackley, who went 1-for-3, is batting .310 since the All-Star break.
- Prior to Saturday’s game, former University of Washington football All-America choiuce Steve Emtman and Seattle sports promoter Bob Walsh will be formally inducted into the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame during a ceremony at Safeco Field.
|8/24||Sat||vs. LAA||RHP Erasmo Ramirez (4-0) vs. LHP Jason Vargas (6-5)|
|8/25||Sun||vs. LAA||RHP Aaron Harang (5-10) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (7-7)|
|8/26||Mon||vs. Tex||LHP Joe Saunders (10-12) vs. LHP Travis Blackley (1-1)|
|8/27||Tue||vs. Tex||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6) vs. LHP Derek Holland (9-6)|
|8/28||Wed||vs. Tex||RHP Felix Hernandez (12-7) vs. LHP Martin Perez (7-3)|