The Mariners, who snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over Texas Friday, will send Mr. Perfect, Joe Saunders (7-0) out to face the Rangers Saturday.
GAME: Rangers (7-4, 2nd, AL West, -2.0 GB) at Mariners (5-7, 3rd, AL West, -4.5 GB). GAME #: 13. SERIES: 3rd of 4 games. MEETING: 3rd (series tied 1-1). WHEN: Saturday, 6:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners W 1; Rangers L 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Felix Hernandez has the $175 million contract, but so far this season Hisashi Iwakuma has been Seattle’s ace. He upstaged countryman Yu Darvish on a cold night at Safeco Field Friday in Seattle’s 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers, giving the Mariners their first win in four games and delaying a fan mutiny by at least a day. Now it’s up to veteran LHP Joe Saunders to keep things rolling.
Saunders (1-1) has a poor career record against Texas — 3-7, 6.48 ERA — but he’s practically unbeatable at Safeco Field, going 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 10 career outings. He’ll oppose Alexi Ogando, 2-0 this season, 1-0 in his career against the Mariners and 0-0 at Safeco Field.
Prior to the Iwakuma-Darvish doings Friday, manager Eric Wedge said that newly acquired Aaron Harang, picked up in a trade with Colorado this week, will move into the rotation immediately. He starts Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers.
Blake Beavan will move to the bullpen where he will take the long relief role vacated by Kameron Loe when the Mariners designated Loe, with six gopher balls on his ledger, for assignment. Beavan was ineffective in his two starts, posting an 8.44 ERA and an opponent batting average of .348.
Harang’s insertion will push Felix Hernandez’s next start to Wednesday with Iwakuma closing out the homestand Thursday.
A closer look at the Saunders-Ogando matchup:
MARINERS: LHP Joe Saunders (1-1, 3.48 ERA, 1.74 WHIP)
The 31-year-old Saunders, a Fairfax, VA., native in his ninth major league season and first with the Mariners, will make his third start and first against the Rangers. Saunders had a sluggish start April 3 at Oakland, giving up four earned runs in four innings in his Mariner debut. He rebounded in Seattle’s home opener, working 6.1 shutout innings in a 3-0 victory.
RANGERS: RHP Alexi Ogando 2-0, 0.77 ERA, 0.94 WHIP
The 29-year-old Ogando, a native of the Dominican Republic in his fourth major league season, all with the Rangers, will be making his third start and first against the Mariners. He pitched his best game April 3 at Houston, holding the Astros without a run and just three hits over 5.1 innings while striking out 10 and walking one. A 2011 All-Star, Ogando has made four career starts and nine relief appearances against Seattle. He has never won at Safeco Field.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|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. Nick Tepesch (1-0)|
|4/16||Tue||vs. Det||RHP Aaron Harang (0-0) vs. TBA|
|4/17||Wed||vs. Det||RHP Felix Hernandez (1-2) vs. TBA|
|4/18||Thr||vs. Det||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (1-0) vs. TBA|