BY SPNW Staff 12:27PM 07/05/2012

Noesi down, Peguero up, Mariners way back

Only three teams in club history found themselves farther out of things than the Mariners found themselves on this Fourth of July. Happy 35th anniversary.

Ichiro leads the Mariners with a .262 batting average, but he lost 11 points on his BA during the recent home stand and is in an 0-for-16 slide. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Losers of two straight to conclude a 4-6 home stand, the Mariners used the off-day Thursday to send down to AAA Tacoma RHP Hector Noesi, the losingest pitcher on the American League’s losingest team, and call up Carlos Peguero, who over his last 12 games hit .342 with six home runs and 12 RBIs.

Peguero, 25, will join the team in Oakland Friday, where the Mariners play three against the A’s to end a grim first half. The All-Star Game break follows, which is when the Mariners will “evaluate everything,”  according to manager Eric Wedge. That would seem mandatory — and here, traditional — at the break when the club,  is hopelessly out of contention, even after MLB expanded the playoffs.

Peguero’s hot bat pushed his season average to .293 with 8 doubles, a triple, 18 home runs — third in the Pacific Coast League –and 41 RBI in 49 games with the Rainiers. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound left-handed hitter is batting .344 (22×64) vs. left-handed pitching.

He has homered in each of his last five games, including a grand slam yesterday at Salt Lake. Peguero missed a month of the season (April 8-May 9) after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

In 2011, Peguero made his MLB debut with Seattle and, in 46 games over two stints, showed he was not ready to hit big-league pitching. He hit six home runs and drove in 19 runs while hitting .196. He struck out 54 times in 143 at-bats.

After a loss to the Orioles Wednesday,  Noesi’s marks fell to 2-11, 5.77 (62 ER in 96.2 IP) in 17 starts. He has lost his last eight consecutive decisions since May 12, a span of 11 starts.

The Mariners are 6-4 against the Athletics this season, winning twice in Oakland early but losing two of three to the improving A’s last week at Safeco.

Kevin Millwood, who missed his last start to rest a strained right groin, is slated to pitch Friday against Tommy Milone. A look at the weekend’s starters:

FRIDAY: RHP Kevin Millwood (3-6, 4.00) vs. LHP Tommy Milone (8-6, 3.73)

Millwood: Millwood returns after skipping a start due to the recurrence of discomfort in his previously injured right groin. The 37-year-old veteran has left mid-game twice this season due to the same injury. He’s 0-1, 6.39 ERA with 10 strikeouts in his past three starts. Vs. Oakland: 0-0, 3.38 in one game this season; lasted just 2.2 innings last time, June 27 .

Milone: Milone was partially a victim of his defense in his last outing against the Rangers. He gave up six runs, one earned, thanks to three errors by the A’s. Milone is unbeaten at home with a 0.99 ERA. He’s 2-1, 0.86 ERA with 13 strikeouts in his last three outings. Vs. Seattle: 1-1, 2.77 in two starts this season; blanked the Mariners 1-0 at Safeco Field June 25; five strikeouts, no walks.

SATURDAY: LHP Jason Vargas (7-7, 4.31) vs. RHP Jarrod Parker (5-3, 2.46)

Vargas: Even though he allowed just one run on five hits through eight innings, Vargas had a no-decision last time. The left-hander has given up a career-high-tying 22 home runs this season. He’s 0-1, 6.16 with 18 strikeouts in his last three. Vs. Oakland: 1-0, 2.45 in three starts against Oakland; 16 strikeouts to five walks; two home runs; had a career-high 10 strikeouts last time(June 26).

Parker: Parker allowed one run against Boston in his last outing, marking the seventh time in his last eight starts that he’s given up one run or less. According to MLB, Parker is the first player to allow one run or less in 10 of his first 14 career starts since 1918. He’s 2-0, 1.37 with 16 strikeouts in his last three. Vs. Seattle: 1-0, 1.29 ERA in one start. On June 29, he allowed the Mariners one run on three hits over seven innings and fanned nine in a 2-1 victory.

SUNDAY: RHP Felix Hernandez (6-5, 3.26) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (6-7, 4.05)

Hernandez: Mariners’ ace exited after allowing the Orioles to get to him in the sixth inning for four runs on just 90 pitches Tuesday. Coming off a 128-pitch start, though, Hernandez should be fresher for his final start before the All-Star break. He’s 2-0, 2.11 with 31 strikeouts in his last three. Vs. Oakland: 1-1, 3.80 in three starts this season; 19 strikeouts to four walks; one home run. Win over Oakland came in a game (April 7) in which Fernandez allowed six earned runs.

Colon: Colon was effective his last time out, his first start since coming off the disabled list, holding the Red Sox to two runs over six innings. His two-seam fastball wasn’t as sharp as normal, but he compensated with a higher velocity four-seam fastball. Colon is 1-1, 4.85 ERA with nine strikeouts in his past three outings. Vs. Seattle: 2-1, 3.72 ERA in three starts; 14 strikeouts to just two walks; one home run. Hasn’t faced Seattle since April.

The Mariners reached the Fourth of July with a record of  35-49, 16.0 games behind the Texas Rangers in the AL West, and 6.5 games behind the third-place Athletics. Only three editions of the Mariners have had a deficit as large as 16.0 games on July 4. Mariner teams farthest in arrears on America’s birthday:

Year Manager Record Gms Behind Finish Final GB
1988 Jim Snyder 32-50 20.5 68-93 35.5
2008 John McLaren 34-52 18.0 61-101 39.0
1983 Rene Lachemann 30-51 16.0 60-102 39.0
2012 Eric Wedge 35-49 16.0 TBD TBD
1978 Darrell Johnson 28-54 15.0 56-104 35.0
1992 Bill Plummer 33-48 15.0 64-98 32.0
2005 Mike Hargrove 35-46 14.5 65-93 26.0
2010 Don Wakamatsu 34-47 14.0 61-101 29.0
1979 Darrell Johnson 35-49 13.5 67-95 21.0
1998 Lou Piniella 30-52 13.0 68-93 35.5
1977 Darrell Johnson 35-48 12.5 64-98 38.0
1989 Jim Lefebvre 38-43 11.0 73-89 26.0
1986 Dick Williams 34-47 10.0 67-95 25.0

NOTES: OF/1B Mike Carp began a rehabilitation assignment with Tacoma Wednesday, going 1-fo-5 in a game at Salt Lake. He has had two stints on the disabled list for a sore right shoulder. If the rehab works, Carp will play mostly first base upon his MLB return to avoid long throws . . .   Mariners are 16-25 at Safeco Field this season, worst home mark in the majors . . . Noesi was the first Mariner pitcher to lose 11 games before the All-Star break since Carlos Silva went 4-11 in 2008. Wednesday marked the fourth straight start in which  Noesi gave at least seven hits. He has not left a game with the lead since May 17 against Cleveland. Noesi, who has lost each of his last eight decisions, has not won since May 6. Noesi has allowed 20 home runs . . . On the other hand, the Mariners have provided Noesi with just one run of support in his last five starts . . . The Mariners Wednesday failed to advance a runner to second base until the ninth inning and finished with three hits, the sixth time this season they have been held to three or fewer . . . Mariners are hitting .195 at Safeco Field. Three worst full-season team batting averages at Safeco: 1. .222, 2011; 2. .238, 2010; 3. .248, 2000 . . . Seattle manager Eric Wedge said it’s unlikely Franklin Gutierrez, on the seven-day disabled list, will return before the All-Star break . . . Ichiro’s batting average dropped 11 points during the home stand, from .273 to .262. Ichiro has gone hitless in four consecutive games and is in an 0-for-16 slide . . . The Mariners have extended their affiliation with the short-season, Class A Everett Aqua Sox of the Northwest League through the 2014 season. The AquaSox have been affiliated with the Mariners for 18 seasons. The AquaSox play their home games at Everett Memorial Stadium, less than 30 miles north of Seattle. No. 1 draft pick Mike Zunino will join the team after the All-Star break


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