After losing for a second time to the lowly Houston Astros, 8-3 Wednesday night, the Mariners draw the serious team from Texas, the Rangers.
GAME: Rangers (6-3, 2nd, AL West, -10. GB) at Mariners (4-6, 3rd, AL West, -3.5 GB). GAME #: 11. SERIES: 1st of 4 games. MEETING: 1st (Rangers won 2012 series 10-9). WHEN: Thursday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 2; Rangers L 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
For a while anyway, the Mariners are going to have a hard time living down the embarrassment of dropping their home-opening series to the Houston Astros, a club widely acknowledged as the worst team in the majors. But the Mariners did their best to put the lie to that, losing by a combined 24-10 Tuesday and Wednesday.
Houston, losers of 100+ games in each of the past two seasons, entered the series riding a six-game losing streak and batting .199 as a team with just 39 hits to show for the season. They departed with 46 hits in three games (37 in two wins), including eight home runs, and a .367 batting average of that span. The Astros hit just two home runs in their first seven games.
The Mariners have shown they have nothing at the back end of their rotation. In Tuesday’s 16-9 loss, No. 4 starter Brandon Maurer couldn’t get out of the first inning, allowing six earned runs on seven hits. In Wednesday’s 8-3 setback, Blake Beavan worked 5.2 innings, but yielded five runs on nine hits. Maurer has a 16.20 ERA while Beavan stands at 7.59. To compound that lameness, Seattle’s bullpen sports a 5.51 ERA.
Fortunately for the Mariners, they catch two breaks when the Texas Rangers come to town to begin a four-game series Thursday. Not only will the Mariners have ace Felix Hernandea on the mound, they won’t have to face Texas lefty Matt Harrison, scratched from his start with back problems.
Harrison is 10-2 lifetime against Seattle and went 4-1, 1.11 against the Mariners last season, his only loss a 1-0 setback Sept. 22 at Safeco Field.
The Rangers have summoned Justin Grimm from AAA Round Rock to take Harrison’s place opposite Hernandez. He has never pitched against the Mariners. A closer look at Thursday’s starters:
The 27-year-old Hernandez, in his ninth major league season, all with the Mariners, will be making his third start. After a vintage Felix performance in the opener (no runs on three hits, eight strikeouts) against Oakland, he had a sub-par effort in a loss to the White Sox last week. Hernandez has a losing career record (12-16) against the Rangers, but went 2-0 in two starts against them last season.
MARINERS: RHP Felix Hernandez (1-1, 2.57 ERA, 0.85 WHIP)
RANGERS: RHP Justin Grimm (1-1, 9.00 ERA, 1.78 WHIP in ’12)
Mariners killer LHP Matt Harrison was scratched due to back problems. The Rangers summoned out of the farm system the 24-year-old Grimm, in his second major league season, both with the Rangers. Grimm started the season at AAA Round Rock (Pacific Coast League), where he went 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA. The Bristol, TN., native appeared in five games for the 2012 Rangers, going 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA. He made two starts but has yet to face the Mariners.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|4/11||Thr||vs. Tex||RHP Felix Hernandez (1-1) vs. RHP Justin Grimm (0-0)|
|4/12||Fri||vs. Tex||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (1-0) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (2-0)|
|4/13||Sat||vs. Tex||LHP Joe Saunders (1-1) vs. RHP Alexi Ogando (2-0)|
|4/14||Sun||vs. Tex||RHP Brandon Maurer (0-2) vs. RHP Nick Tepesch (1-0)|