BY SPNW Staff 07:29AM 05/26/2012

#49: Felix Tasked With Ending 2-Game Slide

The Mariners seemed on their way to victory over the Angels Friday, but then they gave the ball to Brandon League, who continued a season-long pattern of ugly meltdowns.

Ichiro got one hit Friday against the Angels (double), but Seattle failed to capitalize on numerous scoring chances, going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

GAME: Angels 22-25, 3rd, AL West, – 6.5 GB) at Mariners (21-27, 4th, AL West, – 8.0 GB). GAME #: 49. SERIES: 3rd of 4 games. MEETING: 3rd (Angels lead 2-0). WHEN: Saturday, 4:15 p.m., Safeco Field. PROBABLE PITCHERS: RHP Jerome Williams (Los Angeles, 4-2, 3.74) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (Seattle, 4-3, 2.80). STREAKS: Mariners L 2; Angels W 4. TV: ROOT Sports, MLB TV. RADIO: KIRO 710 (Seattle), Mariners Radio Network.

After Brandon League blew his fourth game of the season Friday night (five blown saves in all of 2011), handing the L.A. Angels a 6-4 victory, manager Eric Wedge said he has no immediate plans to change closers.

“You just can’t make a move without having somebody else to take on that role,” said Wedge. “Brandon League’s our closer. We’ve got to get him going.”

To get the Mariners going following back-to-back losses, Wedge will send ace Felix Hernandez to the mound Saturday. Hernandez will be in pursuit of his fifth win. He’ll oppose RHP Jerome Williams, who is 2-0, 3.00 in his career against Seattle. A closer look at the probables:

MARINERS: RHP Felix Hernandez (4-3, 2.80 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)

Felix Hernandez

The 25-year-old Hernandez, in his eighth major league season, all with the Mariners, will be making his 11th start and first against the Angels. Hernandez is coming off a 6-1 dazzler over the Texas Rangers in which he allowed one earned run in 8.0 innings.

A native of Valencia, VZ., the 6-3, 230-pound Hernandez was signed as a non-drafted free agent July 4, 2002 by Seattle scout Bob Engle.

He made his major league debut Aug. 4, 2005, absorbing a 3-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers, in a game in which Hernandez allowed one earned run and fanned four. Hernandez is a two-time American League All-Star (2009, 2011) and won the AL Cy Young award in 2010, when he went 13-12 with a 2.27 ERA.

Hernandez has worked into the eighth inning in five of his 10 starts and into the seventh in two other starts. Hernandez has a career mark of 89-70, 3.22 ERA, and a career batting average against of .238.

  • LAST START: May 21 vs. Texas, defeated the Rangers 6-1; allowed one run on six hits over 8.0 innings; struck out seven, walked two and allowed one home run.
  • LAST VS. ANGELS: Sept. 6, 2011, defeated Los Angeles 2-1 at Angels Stadium; allowed one run on four hits over 8.0 innings; struck out seven, walked two; threw 111 pitches, 77 for strikes.
  • CAREER VS. ANGELS: 6-9, 3.67 ERA in 25 starts, covering 174.0 innings; averages 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings; 145 strikeouts to 48 walks; 19 home runs.
  • AT SAFECO FIELD: 46-30, 3.13 ERA in 105 starts, covering 724.1 innings; averages 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings; 252 of 272 runs allowed earned; 60 home runs.
  • LOVES TO FACE: Peter Bourjos (2-for-14, .143 BA), Erick Aybar (8-for-47, .170 BA), Howie Kendrick (9-for-44, .205 BA).
  • HATES TO FACE: Kendrys Morales (12-for-33, .364 BA, 1 HR), Torii Hunter (17-for-54, .315 BA).
  • CURRENT ANGELS VS. HERNANDEZ: 77-for-318, .242 BA, 5 HRs, 68 strikeouts.

Felix in 2012

  • March 28 (ND, 0-0): Pitched well enough to win season debut, but the Mariners and A’s battled through a 1-1 tie until the 11th when Seattle pushed across two runs to win 3-1, a Tokyo Dome contest that featured a home run and two RBIs by Dustin Ackley and a 4-for-5 performance by Ichiro.
  • April 7: (W, 1-0): Didn’t have best stuff — allowed six earned runs on eight hits over 6.1 IP — but 13 hits, 3 by Chone Figgins, staked him to a 6-0 lead.
  • April 13 (L, 1-1): Allowed two earned runs on seven hits over 7 IP, but lost to Bartolo Colon and the A’s 4-0; fanned six and walked two in a 107-pitch effort that included 69 strikes; had an equal number of ground ball and fly ball outs, 10.
  • April 19 (ND, 1-1): Gave up five hits and no runs in 8.0 innings vs. Cleveland at Safeco Field; had 12 strikeouts and one walk; Brandon League relieved and sustained a blown save and the 2-1 loss.
  • April 25 (W, 2-1): Defeated Detroit 9-1 at Comerica Park; allowed one earned run on four hits over 7.0 innings; three walks in the first inning.
  • April 30 (ND, 2-1) Took a no-decision in Seattle’s 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay when Brandon League blew the save and game; allowed one earned run on five hits over 8.0 innings; fanned nine and walked four; threw 106 pitches, 71 for strikes.
  • May 5  (W, 3-1): Beat Twins 7-0; allowed one hit over 8.0 innings, struck out nine and walked two; threw 107 pitches, 71 for strikes.
  • May 11 (L, 3-2): Lost 6-2 when Ibanez belted a three-run homer; allowed four earned runs on a season-high 11 hits; struck out seven, walked two.
  • May 16 (L, 3-3): At Cleveland, lost 9-3; gave up eight earned runs on a season-high 10 hits in just 3.2 innings; struck out three and walked three; threw 103 pitches, 60 for strikes.
  • May 21 (W, 4-3): Defeated the Rangers 6-1; allowed one run on six hits over 8.0 innings; struck out seven, walked two and allowed one home run.

ANGELS: RHP Jerome Williams (4-2, 3.74 ERA, 1.32 WHIP)

Jerome Williams

The 30-year-old Williams, in his seventh major league season, second with the Angels, will be making his eighth start and first against the Mariners.

A native of Honolulu, the 6-3, 240-pound Williams was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the first round (39th pick) of the 1999 amateur draft.

Williams pitched in the San Francisco minor league system until April 26, 2003, when he made his major league debut against the Philadelphia Phillies. Williams sustained a 10-2 loss, allowing five earned runs on five hits over 4.0 innings.

Williams pitched for San Francisco from 2003-05, winning a high of 10 games in 2004. The Giants traded him, along with former Mariner David Aardsma, to the Chicago Cubs May 28, 2005, for LaTroy Hawkins and cash.

Williams spent two years with the Cubs (2005-06), working largely in relief, was released, claimed by Oakland, released, and signed by the Washington Nationals Jan. 12, 2007. Williams went 0-5 that year, had cups of coffee with Minnesota and the Dodgers and signed with the Angels as a free agent June 16, 2011.

Williams hasn’t been a full-time starter since 2005, but has moved into the Angels’ rotation this season.

  • 2012: Williams pitched into the sixth inning in eight of his nine starts. He threw his best game May 1, a complete-game, 4-0 win over Minnesota; struck out six and walked one; hammered twice, allowing six earned runs at Texas May 11 and five at New York April 15.
  • LAST START: May 21 at Oakland, lost 2-1; allowed two earned runs on five hits over 6.2 innings; struck out two and walked a season-high five.
  • LAST VS. MARINERS: Sept. 7, 2011, defeated Seattle 3-1 at Angels Stadium; allowed one earned run in eight innings, struck out five, walked one and gave up one home run to Trayvon Robinson.
  • CAREER VS. MARINERS: 2-0, 3.00 ERA in two games, both starts, covering 15.0 innings; has recorded 11 strikeouts vs. three walks and one home run; averages 6.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
  • AT SAFECO FIELD: 1-0, 5.14 ERA in one game, a start, covering 7.0 innings; has six strikeouts vs. one walk.
  • LOVES TO FACE: Brendan Ryan (0-for-4, .000 BA), Ichiro (1-for-7, .143 BA), Dustin Ackley (1-for-6, .167 BA), Mike Carp (1-for-5, .200 BA).
  • HATES TO FACE: Nobody.
  • CURRENT MARINERS VS. WILLIAMS: 8-for-50, .160 BA, 1 HR, 12 strikeouts.

AL WEST STANDINGS

Team W L Pct. GB Home Road Last 10 Streak
Rangers 28 18 .609 12-9 16-9 5-5 Won 1
Athletics 22 24 .478 6.0 10-13 12-11 3-7 Lost 3
Angels 25 25 .468 6.5 11-10 11-15 6-4 Won 4
Mariners 21 27 .438 8.0 9-11 12-16 5-5 Lost 2

MARINERS / STATS NOTES

  • CURRENT HOME STAND: Three against Texas Monday-Wednesday, four vs. Los Angeles Angels Thursday-Sunday.
  • HOME STAND PROMOTIONS: Saturday — Turn Back The Clock Night (’50s poster); the King’s Court will be in session; Sunday — Little League Day (Justin Smoak Growth Chart; Senior Special Day).

    Dustin Ackley Bobblehead

  • MARINERS VS. ANGELS: Mariners 230-287 all-time vs. Angels, including 52-63 at Safeco Field. Mariners lost the 2011 season series 12-7 and haven’t beaten the Angels in a season series since 2003. Mariners have not swept a four-game series from the Angels at Safeco Field since 2001. Angels last swept a four-game series at Safeco Field in 2006.
  • LATEST: Brandon League’s blown save Friday was his third in his last five chances dating to April 30. All four of League’s losses are blown saves. “The pitches are up and I’m not getting ground balls. That’s the bottom line,” said League, who has allowed seven runs (six earned), eight hits and five walks in his last 3.1 innings. League had five blown saves in the 2011 season . . . Seattle starter Blake Beavan made just one mistake in seven innings, leaving a fastball up on an 0-2 count to Albert Pujols, who homered against the Mariners for the second consecutive game. Beavan’s quality start was his fourth of the season . . . Seattle is in last place, a game and a half behind the third-place Angels . . . Justin Smoak, who belted a two-run homer Friday, has seven RBIs in his past five games and 19 for the season. Smoak’s 4-RBI game marked the third of his career . . . Kyle Seager’s double in the seventh inning snapped an 0-for-17 slide . . . The Mariners walked seven times, the sixth time in 2012 they have walked seven times. Mariners had a season-high eight walks May 5 at Minnesota . . . Dustin Ackley got the day off Friday, even though it was his Bobblehead night . . . Mariners went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners stranded . . . Mariners do not expect OF Franklin Gutierrez, battling plantar fascitis, to return to the team until at least mid-June. The plan now is for Gutierrez to work throughout the week with the Mariners, return to Arizona Sunday and play five or six exhibition game in extended spring training, then begin a rehab assignment..

    The Mariners will "Turn Back The Clock" Saturday

  • SEASON SUMMARY: Series Record: Won 7, Split 0, Lost 8 . . . Sweeps: 2; Swept: 2 . . . Longest Win Streak: 4 (April 24-27, May 18-21); Longest Losing Streak: 7 (April 28-May 4) . . . Vs. Divisions: vs. AL East: 2-10; vs. AL Central: 8-9; vs. AL West: 8-8; vs NL West: 3-0 . . . Biggest Lead: 1.0, April 7; Farthest Behind: 8.5, May 18 . . . Most Runs Scored: 10, May 19 at Colorado; Most Runs Allowed: 11, April 9 at Texas . . . Walk-Off Wins: 1, May 7, first since Sept. 14, 2011 vs. New York, and first via a sacrifice fly (John Jaso) since Sept. 14, 2007 vs. Tampa Bay (Jose Guillen); Walk-Off Losses: 1, May 17, at Cleveland, Carlos Santana bases-loaded single off League in 11th . . . Times Opponent Shut out: 3; Times Shut out by Opponent: 6.
  • BATTING: Mariners rank 10th (AL) in runs (180), 12th in hits (368), ninth in doubles (77), first in triples (10) and ninth in home runs (40) . . . Rank 13th in batting average (.229), 13th in on-base percentage (.289), 13th in slugging (.364) and 13th in OPS (.654) . . . batting 85-for-387 (.220) with runners in scoring position after going 1-for-8 Friday . . . out-homered 51-40 . . . left 291 men on base, opponents 289 . . . scored 180 runs, opponents 186 . . . scored 99 of 178 runs in the first four innings . . . Mariners 18-7 when scoring 4+ runs . . . Mariners have homered in 19 of last 31 games . . . batted around three times: April 7 at Oakland (4th inning), April 9 at Texas (1st), and April 17 vs. Cleveland (4th).
  • BATTING EXTRA: Longest Hitting Streak: Dustin Ackley, 13 games, May 3-17 . . . Four-Hit Games: Ichiro, March 28 vs. Oakland; Justin Smoak, April 17 vs. Cleveland; Jesus Montero, May 1 at Tampa . . .  Grand Slams: Michael Saunders, April 27 at Toronto; Alex Liddi, May 23 vs. Texas . . . Back-To-Back Home Runs: Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak, 3rd inning, May 20, at Colorado . . . Notable: Kyle Seager’s single in the fourth inning April 17 marked the 50,000th hit in Mariners’ history; Brendan Ryan’s walk in the same frame scored Justin Smoak with the 25,000th run in franchise history . . . Montero’s 13 RBIs in April were the most by a Mariners’ rookie since 1986.
  • PITCHING: Mariners rank seventh in ERA (3.88), sixth in hits allowed (375), sixth in runs allowed (192), ninth in home runs allowed (51), fifth in walks (136), sixth in strikeouts (341) . . . Felix Hernandez has 17 career no-decisions while throwing 7.0 or more innings and allowing one or fewer runs . . . Closer Brandon League is 0-4 with nine saves and four blown saves.
  • ICHIRO (1-for-4 Friday) has 768 multi-hit games, which ranks fourth among active players, and No. 1 since his debut in 2001. Ichiro’s 47 games with four or more hits leads all active players . . . Three-hit game April 30 marked the 226th of his major league career . . . Ranks 97th on career hits list (2,483) and needs seven to tie No. 96 Fred McGriff . . . Has recorded 99 outfield assists. Only Jeff Francouer, with 100, has more . . . With 96 career home runs, needs four to become the 12th Mariner with 100. Breakdown: 94 as a leadoff hitter, one batting second, one batting third.
  • ODDS/ENDS: The Mariners will play five games in the next five days. Their next day off is Thursday . . . Mariners have two more bobblehead nights: June 15 (Felix Hernandez), July 28 (Dan Wilson and Randy Johnson).
  • DEBUTS: Munenori Kawasaki (April 7), Lucas Luetge (April 7), Erasmo Ramirez (April 9), Hisashi Iwakuma (April 20).
  • DISABLED LIST: George Sherrill (15-day, April 13, strained flexor bundle), Franklin Gutierrez (15-day, March 28, torn pectoral muscle; plantar fascitis), Adam Moore (15-day, March 28, fractured wrist).
  • EX-MARINERS VS. CURRENT MARINERS: April 19Jack Hannahan, Indians, 2-run single in ninth off Brandon League in Tribe’s 2-1 win; April 28Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays, one earned run over 7.0 innings in 7-0 win; May 11, Raul Ibanez, Yankees, 3-run homer off Felix Hernandez in 6-2 win; May 12Raul Ibanez, Yankees, solo homer off Hector Noesi in 6-2 win; May 15, David Ortiz, Red Sox, solo homer off Blake Beaven in 5-0 Red Sox win; May 16, Shin-Soo Choo (3), Asdrubal Cabrera (2) and Jose Lopez (1) combine for 6 hits in 9-3 Cleveland win; May 17, Casey Kotchman (2), Cabrera (2), Jose Lopez (1), Choo (1) six of Cleveland’s 10 hits, plus 5 RBIs, in a 6-5 win.

2012 RECORDS / MILESTONES

  • April 24: Catcher Miguel Olivo matched the franchise record  when he was charged with three passed balls in a 7-4 win at Detroit. Jerry Narron let three balls get by him Oct. 4, 1980, and Jeff Clement did likewise Aug. 10, 2008 (Clement was catching knuckleballer R.A. Dickey).
  • April 27: Michael Saunders joined Donnie Scott (April 29, 1985) and Jimmy Presley (April 8, 1986) as the only Mariners to hit two home runs in a game in the ninth inning or later (solo homer in the 9th, grand slam in the 10th).
  • April 30: When both Miguel Olivo and Jesus Montero homered, it marked the first time in franchise history that two players had homered in the same game as a catcher.
  • May 2: Ichiro set a club record for most putouts by a right fielder in a nine-inning game, registering 10 in a 5-4 loss at Tampa.
  • May 3: The Mariners featured a lineup at Tampa Bay that included seven left- handed hitters and two switch-hitters. It marked only the third time in club history that the Mariners used an all left-sided lineup. Others: Aug. 13, 1983 at California and Aug. 9, 1983 at Oakland.
  • May 5: Combined one-hitter by Felix Hernandez and Steve Delabar vs. Minnesota was the 13th in Mariners history. Ten have been thrown by one pitcher, three combined. Most recent combined: Michael Pineda, Jeff Gray and Brandon League vs. Tampa, July 30, 2011. Most recent by one pitcher: Jarrod Washburn, July 6, 2009.
  • May 9: When John Jaso batted leadoff against Detroit, it marked the first time since 1978 that a catcher had hit first for the Marines (Bob Stinson). Oddly, lefty Jaso led off against Tiger lefty Drew Smyly.
  • May 8: Kevin Millwood’s 2-0 shutout marked his first in nearly nine years. He did not surrender his first hit until there were two outs in the sixth. Millwood’s gem marked only the fourth time in 1,440 games at Coors Field that an opposing pitcher held the Rockies to two hits or less while shutting them out. Millwood’s complete game also was the first by a Mariner in 2012.

MARINERS WON-LOSS BREAKDOWN

Rec. Home Road Day Night vs. RHP vs. LHP Hit HR No HR
21-27 9-11 12-16 6-9 14-20 15-24 6-4 16-11 5-16

MARINERS BATTING PROFILE

Avg. Home Road R HR OBP SLG OPS RISP
.229 .197 .248 180 40 .289 .364 .654 .220

MARINERS PITCHING PROFILE

Rec. ERA IP R ER HR BA OBP SLG
21-27 3.88 424.2 192 182 51 .236 .301 .385

PROBABLE PITCHERS

Date Day Opp. Probable Pitchers
5/26 Sat vs. LAA Felix Hernandez (4-3, 2.80) vs. Jerome Williams (4-2, 3.74)
5/27 Sun vs. LAA Hector Noesi (2-5, 5.26) vs. C.J. Wilson (5-4, 2.90)

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 W, 7-3 2-1 W: Vargas (1-0); L: McCarthy (0-1)
4 4/7 at Oak W, 8-7 3-1 W: Hernandez (1-0); L: Colon (1-1)
5 4/9 at Tex L, 11-5 3-2 W: Darvish (1-0); L: Noesi (0-1)
6 4/10 at Tex L, 1-0 3-3 W: Feliz (1-0); L: Beavan (0-1)
7 4/11 at Tex W, 4-3 4-3 W: Luetge (1-0); L: Nathan (0-2)
8 4/12 at Tex L, 5-3 4-4 W: Holland (1-0); L: Vargas (1-1
9 4/13 vs Oak L, 4-0 4-5 W: Colon (2-1); L: Hernandez (1-1)
10 4/14 vs. Oak W, 4-0 5-5 W: Noesi (1-1); L: Milone (1-1)
11 4/15 vs. Oak W, 5-3 6-5 W: Beavan (1-1); L: Godfrey (0-2)
12 4/17 vs. Cle L, 9-8 6-6 W: Perez (0-1); L: Furbush (0-1)
13 4/18 vs. Cle W, 4-1 7-6 W: Vargas (2-1); L: Lowe (2-1)
14 4/19 vs. Cle L, 2-1 7-7 W: Tomlin (1-1); L: League (0-1)
15 4/20 vs. CWS L, 7-3 7-8 W: Sale (2-1); L: Noesi (1-2)
16 4/21 vs. CWS L, 4-0 7-9 W: Humber (1-0); Beavan (1-2)
17 4/22 vs. CWS L, 7-4 7-10 W: Danks (2-2); L: Millwood (0-1)
18 4/24 at Det W, 7-4 8-10 W: Vargas (3-1); L: Scherzer (1-2)
19 4/25 at Det W, 9-1 9-10 W: Fernandez (2-1); L: Wilk (0-3)
20 4/26 at Det W, 5-4 10-10 W: Furbush (1-1); L: Porcello (1-2)
21 4/27 at Tor W, 9-5 11-10 W: Furbush (2-1); L: Perez (2-1)
22 4/28 at Tor L, 7-0 11-11 W: Morrow (2-1); L: Millwood (0-2)
23 4/29 at Tor L, 7-2 11-12 W: Alvarez (1-2); L: Vargas (3-2)
24 4/30 at TB L, 3-2 11-13 W: Howell (1-0); L: League (0-2)

May

Gm. # Date Opp. W/L Rec. Win / Loss
25 5/1 at TB L, 3-1 11-14 W: Moore (1-1); L: Noesi (1-3)
26 5/2 at TB L, 5-4 11-15 W: Shields (5-0); L: Beavan (1-3)
27 5/3 at TB L, 4-3 11-16 W: Niemann (2-3); L: Millwood (0-3)
28 5/4 vs. Min L, 3-2 11-17 W: Pavano (2-2); L: Wilhelmsen (1-1)
29 5/5 vs. Min W, 7-0 12-17 W: Hernandez (3-1); L: Marquis (2-1)
30 5/6 vs. Min W, 5-2 13-17 W: Noesi (2-3): L: Blackburn (0-4)
31 5/7 vs. Det W, 3-2 14-17 W: Delabar (1-0); L: Dotel (1-1)
32 5/8 vs. Det L, 6-4 14-18 W: Verlander (3-1); L: Millwood (0-4)
33 5/9 vs. Det W, 2-1 15-18 W: Vargas (4-2); L: Putkoen (0-1)
34 5/11 at NYY L, 6-2 15-19 W: Kuroda (3-4); L: Hernandez (3-2)
35 5/12 at NYY L, 6-2 15-20 W: Hughes (3-4); L: Noesi (2-4)
36 5/13 at NYY W, 6-2 16-20 W: Millwood (1-4); L: Pettitte (0-1)
37 5/14 at Bos L, 6-1 16-21 L: Lester (2-3); L: Vargas (4-3)
38 5/15 at Bos L, 5-0 16-22 W: Beckett (3-4); L: Beavan (1-4)
39 5/16 at Cle L, 9-3 16-23 W: Jimenez (4-3): L: Hernandez (3-3)
40 5/17 at Cle L, 6-5 16-24 W: Smith (4-1); L: League (0-3)
41 5/18 at Col W, 4-0 17-24 W: Millwood (2-4); L: White (0-3)
42 5/19 at Col W, 10-3 18-24 W: Vargas (5-3); L: Friedrich (1-1)
43 5/20 at Col W, 6-4 19-24 W: Beavan (2-4); L: Guthrie (2-2)
44 5/21 vs. Tex W, 6-1 20-24 W: Hernandez (4-3); L: Darvish (6-2)
45 5/22 vs. Tex L, 3-1 20-25 W: Harrison (5-3): L: Noesi (2-5)
46 5/23 vs. Tex W, 5-3 21-25 W: Millwood (3-4); L: Feldman (0-2)
47 5/24 vs. LAA L, 3-0 21-26 W: Haren (2-5); L: Vargas (5-4)
48 5/25 vs. LAA L, 6-4 21-27 W: Isringhausen (1-0); L: League (0-4)
49 5/26 vs. LAA
50 5/27 vs. LAA
51 5/28 at Tex
52 5/29 at Tex
53 5/30 at Tex

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