BY SPNW Staff 06:30AM 04/06/2012

#3: Vargas hopes for repeat in season restart

After an eight-day trip to Japan to open the major league season, the Mariners finished spring training with five games in Arizona before resuming the regular season Friday in Oakland.

Jason Vargas, who pitched well in his first start of the season in Japan, re-opens the regular season in Oakland Friday night. / Getty Images

GAME: Mariners (1-1, T3rd AL West, 0.0 GA/GB) at Athletics (1-1, T3rd AL West, 0.0 GA/GB). GAME #: 3. SERIES: 3rd of 4 games. MEETING (2012): 3rd (series tied 1-1). WHEN: Friday, 7:05 p.m. Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. PROBABLE PITCHERS: LHP Jason Vargas (Seattle, 0-0, 1.42) vs. RHP Brandon McCarthy (Oakland, 0-0, 1.29 ERA). STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Athletics W 1. TV: ROOT Sports, MLB TV. RADIO: KIRO 710 (Seattle), Mariners Radio Network.

More than a week after returning to spring training following their opening series in Japan, the Mariners and Athletics resume the series and the regular season Friday with two in Oakland.

The first pairs Seattle’s Game 2 starter, Jason Vargas, against Oakland’s Opening Day starter, Brandon McCarthy. Both pitched well in first starts, although neither recorded a decision.

Vargas was pleased with the effectiveness of his fastball against the Athletics.

“I was commanding my fastball,” Vargas said. “When I do that, it makes my secondary stuff better. It was nice to throw my change-up pretty consistent in that game. My cutter was working and I was getting some strikes with that.”

Player to watch for Oakland: Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes, signed for $36 million over four years, had a home run and a double in the Japan series.

After a rare day off Sunday, the Mariners play four game series in Arlington, TX., against the two-time defending American League champion Texas Rangers before returning to Seattle for the home season opener April 13, also against Oakland.

TODAY’S PROBABLE PITCHERS

MARINERS: LHP Jason Vargas (0-0, 1.42 ERA, 0.63 WHIP)

Jason Vargas

The 29-year-old Vargas, in his seventh major league season and fifth with the Mariners, will be making his second start.

A native of Apple Valley, CA., the 6-0, 215-pound Vargas was selected in the second round of the 2004 amateur draft by the Florida Marlins.

He made his debut with Florida July 14, 2005, pitching one inning of relief in a 13-7 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Mariners acquired Vargas as part of a three-team swap Dec. 11, 2008, when the New York Mets sent him along with Mike Carp, Ezequiel Carrera, Endy Chavez, Maikel Cleto and Aaron Heilman to the Mariners. The Mariners sent Sean Green, J.J. Putz and Jeremy Reed to the Mets.

The Mariners also sent Luis Valbuena to the Indians. The Mets sent Joe Smith to the  Indians, who sent Franklin Gutierrez to the Mariners.

Vargas brings a career record of 28-39, 4.53 ERA into the game, including a 22-31, 4.19 ERA with the Mariners.

2012: Vargas pitched well enough to win in Japan, but after he departed the game, the bullpen imploded, surrendering three home runs, greasing Seattle’s 4-1 defeat.

  • LAST START (March 29): Worked 6.1 innings, allowed one earned run on two hits, walked two and fanned three.
  • LAST VS. ATHLETICS: Threw 85 pitches, 54 for strikes, while facing 22 batters. He had five ground-ball outs and nine fly-ball outs.
  • CAREER VS. ATHLETICS: 10 games with nine starts; 3-4 with a 3.67 ERA, covering 54.0 IP. He fans 7.67 A’s per 9 and walks 2.33 per 9. Vargas allowed 5 home runs and the A’s have hit .213 off him.
  • AT OAKLAND: Has appeared in five games with four starts, and is looking for his first win; is 0-3 with a 4.15 ERA with three home runs allowed.
  • LOVES TO FACE: Michael Taylor (0-for-5, .000 BA, 3 K’s), Kurt Suzuki (5-for-21, .238 BA, 3’s), Jemile Weeks  (3-for-12, .250 BA, 1 K), Cliff Pennington (4-for-16, .250 BA, 2 K’s).
  • HATES TO FACE: Josh Reddick (1-for-2, .500 BA, 1 2B), Adam Rosales (2-for-5, .400 BA), Daric Barton (4-for-12, .333 BA).

ATHLETICS: RHP Brandon McCarthy (0-0, 1.29 ERA, 0.86 WHIP)

Brandon McCarthy

The 28-year-old McCarthy, in his sixth major league season and second with the Athletics, will be making his second start, second against the Mariners.

A native of Glendale, CA., the 6-7, 200-pound McCarthy was selected in the 17th round of the 2002 amateur draft by the Chicago White Sox.

He made his debut with the White Sox May 22, 22, 2005 against the Chicago Cubs, receiving a no-decision in a 4-3 loss at Wrigley Field. McCarthy allowed four hits and two earned runs in 5.1 innings.

On Dec. 23, 2006, the White Sox traded McCarthy with David Paisano (minors) to the Texas Rangers for Jacob Rasner (minors), John Danks and Nick Masset. The Rangers granted McCarthy free agency Nov. 5, 2010. He signed s a free agent with Oakland Dec. 14, 2010.

McCarthy has a career record of 29-33, 4.17, including a 9-9, 3.32 mark with the Athletics.

2012: McCarthy opposed Felix Hernandez on Opening Day March 28 in Tokyo, acquitting himself favorably by holding the Mariners to one earned run through four innings. He was lifted for a pinch hitter. The Mariners won 3-1 in 11 innings.

  • LAST START: Allowed one run on six hits, fanned three and walked none while throwing 82 pitches, 59 for strikes; allowed a two-run home run to Dustin Ackley; allowed no other extra-base hits.
  • LAST VS. MARINERS: Got 12 ground ball outs and five fly-ball outs; helped contain Justin Smoak and Jesus Montero to a combined 0-for-9 night.
  • CAREER VS. MARINERS: 12 games, 10 starts;  2-5 record with a 3.90 ERA; Mariners are .237 against him with 13 home runs.
  • AT OAKLAND: Has appeared in 17 games, including 16 starts; career record of 6-6 with a 3.27 ERA; allowed seven home runs and a career batting average against of .254.
  • LOVES TO FACE: Michael Saunders (1-for-11, .091, 5 K’s), Justin Smoak (2-for-12, .167 BA, 4 K’s), Brendan Ryan (2-for-11, .182 BA), Dustin Ackley (3-for-14, .214 BA, 3 K’s, 1 HR); Miguel Olivo (2-for-9, .222 BA).
  • HATES TO FACE: Chone Figgins (6-for-16, .375 BA, 2 RBIs), Ichiro (10-for-32, .313 BA).

LAST GAME

Athletics 4, Mariners 1

AT TOKYO (March 29): Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes hit his first major league home run to power the Athletics to a 4-1 victory that earned Oakland a split in the two-game season-opening series. Cespedes connected for a two-run homer off Seattle reliever Shawn Kelley (0-1) for a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh. Josh Reddick followed with a solo shot off George Sherrill. Oakland starter Bartolo Colon picked up the win after striking out six and holding the Mariners to one run on three hits over eight innings. Grant Balfour pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.

MARINERS STATS / NOTES

  • The Mariners homered in each of the season’s first two games, Dustin Ackley in the opener, Justin Smoak in Game 2.
  • Expect fastballs when Bartolo Colon pitches against the Mariners Friday. In his first start against the Mariners March 29, 78 of 86 were fastballs. Since the start of the 2011 season, 83.2 percent of Colon’s pitches have been fastballs.
  • Mariners optioned RHP Shawn Kelley to AAA Tacoma. Kelley was the loser in the second game.
  • The Mariners reached the roster limit of 25 Wednesday by sending down reliever Charlie Furbush and outfielder Carlos Peguero to Class AAA Tacoma.
  • Mariners concluded spring training with a record of 16-9-1, including 8-5-1 at Peoria Stadium.
  • Infielder Munenori Kawasaki, who signed with the Mariners last winter after a decorated career in Japan, led Seattle and the Cactus League in batting average at .450.
  • In their final spring training game, the Mariners beat Colorado 7-2. RHP Hector Noesi earned the win after allowing seven hits in a spring-high 7.0 IP. Chone Figgins hit a pair of triples and drove in three runs, backup C John Jaso went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, and Ichiro went 2-for-3 with a walk.
  • The Mariners named 1B Alex Liddi the player of the spring after he finished Cactus League with a .370 batting average.

MARINERS WON-LOSS BREAKDOWN

Rec. Home Road Day Night vs. RHP vs. LHP Hit HR No HR
1-1 0-0 1-1 0-0 1-1 1-1 0-0 1-1 0-0

MARINERS BATTING PROFILE

Avg. Home Road R HR OBP SLG OPS RISP
.174 .000 .174 4 2 .186 .275 .461 .250

MARINERS PITCHING PROFILE

Rec. ERA IP R ER HR BA OBP SLG
1-1 2.37 19.0 5 5 3 .188 .233 .377

PROBABLE PITCHERS

Date Day Opp. Probable Pitchers
4/7 Sat at Oak Hernandez (0-0, 1.13) vs. Colon (1-0, 1.13)
4/9 Mon at Tex Noesi (0-0, 0.00) vs. Darvish (0-0, 0.00)
4/10 Tue at Tex Beavan (0-0) vs. Feliz (0-0, 0.00)
4/10 Tue at Tex Millwood (0-0) vs. Lewis (0-0, 0.00)
4/10 Tue at Tex Vargas (0-0, 1.42) vs. Holland (0-0, 0.00)

MARINERS 2012 SCHEDULE/RESULTS

March

Gm.# Date Opp. W/L Rec. Win / Loss
1 3/28 at Oak W, 3-1 1-0 W: Wilhelmsen (1-0); L: Carignan (0-1)
2 3/29 at Oak L, 4-1 1-1 W: Colon (1-0); L: Kelley (0-1)

April

Gm. # Date Opp. W/L Rec. Win / Loss
3 4/6 at Oak
4 4/7 at Oak
5 4/9 at Tex
6 4/10 at Tex
7 4/11 at Tex
8 4/12 at Tex
9 4/13 vs OaK
10 4/14 vs. Oak
11 4/15 vs. Oak
12 4/17 vs. Cle
13 4/18 vs. Cle
14 4/19 vs. Cle
15 4/20 vs. CWS
16 4/21 vs. CWS
17 4/22 vs. CWS
18 4/24 at Det
19 4/25 at Det
20 4/26 at Det
21 4/27 at Tor
22 4/28 at Tor
23 4/29 at Tor
24 4/30 at TB

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