GAME: Rangers (75-55, 1st, AL West, +2.5 GA) at Mariners (59-70, 3rd, AL West, -15.5 GB). GAME #: 130. SERIES: 1st of 3 games. MEETING: 17th (Rangers lead 9-7). WHEN: Monday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 3; Rangers L 2. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Joe Saunders has 88 wins in his nine-year major league career, including 10 this season for the Mariners, but he’s never had much success against the Texas Rangers. In four starts this season, covering 23.1 innings, Saunders is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. For his career, Saunders is 4-9 with a 6.17 ERA in 15 starts covering 81.2 innings.
The Rangers tattooed Saunders for 18 home runs, the most he has allowed to any major league team, and sport an opponent batting average of .295. Only the Boston Red Sox (.299) have banged him around for a higher clip (minimum 10 games).
Saunders gets another shot at Texas — or, rather, the Rangers get another shot at him — Monday night beginning a three-game series at Safeco Field. They wrap up the season series.
Mariner fans with long (and painful) memories will recall Travis Blackley, signed by the club as an amateur free agent from Australia in 2000. In the early part of the decade, Blackley, Matt Thornton, Clint Nageotte and others were often referred to — by the Mariners — as the “crown jewels” of their minor league system.
But the “crown jewels” collectively turned out to be a plastic tiara, none of parts succeeding to any significant degree in the major leagues. So here is the oft-injured Blackley, who is 8-8 in 79 games since he made his debut in 2004. He’s only getting the start Monday night due to an injury.
The Mariners are on vacation at the plate. During the Angels series that ended Sunday, they scored two runs and hit .192 with runners in scoring position. In their last four losses, the Mariners are 2-for-18 with RISP, .111 BA. That’s not going to play against Texas.
MARINERS: LHP Joe Saunders (10-12, 4.91, 1.57 WHIP)
The 32-year-old Saunders, a Fairfax, VA., native in his ninth major league season and first with Seattle, will make his 27th start and fifth against the Rangers. Saunders battled back from a four-run first inning to toss five scoreless frames in a no-decision against the A’s in his last start. The left-hander has allowed four or more earned runs in six of his last seven starts and has a 9.45 ERA in his last seven.
- LAST START: Aug. 20 at Oakland, took a no-decision in Seattle’s 7-4 win; 4 earned runs on 10 hits in 6.0 innings; 2 strikeouts, 3 walks, 2 home runs, 102 pitches, 60 for strikes.
- LAST VS. RANGERS: July 2 at Texas, won 9-2; 1 earned run on 10 hits in 6.2 innings; 5 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 107 pitches, 67 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. RANGERS: 4-9, 6.17 ERA in 15 starts covering 81.2 innings; 62 strikeouts, 28 walks, 18 home runs, 1.53 WHIP.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 11-5, 3.10 ERA in 20 starts covering 119.0 innings; 69 strikeouts, 40 walks, 11 home runs, 1.25 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Adam Rosales (4-for-19, .211), A.J. Pierzynski (5-for-22, .227), Elvis Andrus (4-for-16, .250)
- HATES TO FACE: Jeff Baker (7-for-16, .438), Craig Gentry (3-for-7, .429), Alex Rios (9-for-30, .300).
- CURRENT RANGERS VS. SAUNDERS: 77-for-348, .310 BA, 30 strikeouts, 21 walks, 12 home runs, .366 on-base percentage.
ANGELS: LHP Travis Blackley (1-1, 4.85, 1.00 WHIP)
The 30-year-old Blackley, in his fourth major league season and first with Texas, will make his second start and first against the Mariners. Blackley is in the rotation because Alexi Ogando is on the DL. He allowed two runs in four innings in his first start against the Astros last Tuesday. Blackley, who pitched in 42 games in relief with the Houston Astros prior to his early-August trade to Texas, was originally signed by the Mariners and has a 1.98 ERA in five career appearances against them.
- LAST START: Aug. 20 vs. Houston, took a no-decision in a 4-2 Texas win; 2 earned runs on 3 hits in 4.0 innings; 2 strikeouts, 1 walk, 1 home run, 66 pitches, 42 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: July 20, pitching for Houston, worked one inning of relief; 2 strikeouts, 0 walks, 0 home runs, 13 pitches, 8 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 0-0, 1.98 ERA in 5 games, including 1 start, covering 13.2 innings; 10 strikeouts, 1 walk, 1 home run, 0.65 WHIP.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 1-1, 3.95 ERA in 4 games, including 2 starts, covering 20.1 innings; 9 strikeouts, 7 walks, 7 home runs, 1.67 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Justin Smoak (0-for-5, .000), Kyle Seager (0-for-5, .000) Michael Saunders (0-for-4, .000).
- HATES TO FACE: Nick Franklin (1-for-2, .500), Endy Chavez (1-for-2, .500), Kendrys Morales (2-for-5, .400).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. BLACKLEY: 7-for-43, .163 BA, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 1 home run, .178 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 series 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 Mariners scored two runs in the three-game series against the Angels, a series low in 2013.
- The three-game series sweep was the first suffered by Seattle at home this season.
- Dustin Ackley’s home run Sunday was the sixth of his career at Safeco Field and his first in 13 months. Since the All-Star break, Ackley is batting .330.
- Ackley’s home run was Seattle’s 151st of the season, most by a Mariner team since 2009. Last year’s Mariners hit 149.
- Aaron Harang has allowed seven earned runs in three of his last five starts.
- Brad Miller, who went 1-for-4 Sunday, is working on a career-high six-game hitting streak.
|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)|