After salvaging the third game of a three-game series with Detroit Thursday (2-0), the Mariners are off on a six-game swing through Texas and Houston. First pitch Friday: 5:05 p.m.
GAME: Mariners (7-10, 3rd, AL West, -5.5 GB) at Rangers (9-6, 2nd, AL West, -2.5 GB). GAME #: 18. SERIES: 1st of 3 games. MEETING: 5th (series tied 2-2). WHEN: Friday, 5:05 p.m., Rangers Ballpark. STREAKS: Mariners W 1; Rangers L 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
The Mariners didn’t exactly dazzle at the plate during their three-game series with the Detroit Tigers that ended Thursday with a 2-0 victory — they struck out 40 times in 110 at-bats. But they should benefit in their three-game series with Texas from facing three Rangers starters — Yu Darvish, Nick Tepesch and Derek Holland — not nearly as accomplished as the trio of Tigers they just encountered, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.
Darvish is the best of the three, but he hasn’t done anything special against Seattle in five career starts. Darvish is 2-3 with a 6.21 ERA and lost 3-1 April 12 at Safeco Field.
Working against the Mariners is that they will throw the back end of their rotation against the high-powered Rangers.
While Friday night’s Seattle’s starter, lefty Joe Saunders, is off to a 1-1, 2.08 start, he lost his only outing on the road and is a far better pitcher at Safeco Field (7-0 career) than he is on the road. And at Rangers Ballpark, he has been dreadful. In 31.2 career innings, Saunders is 0-6 with a 9.38 ERA.
The Mariners and Rangers will be playing their second series of the season. In the first (April 11-14), the teams split four games, with each team scoring 11 runs.
MARINERS: LHP Joe Saunders (1-1, 2.08 ERA, 1.32 WHIP)
The 31-year-old Saunders, a Virginia native in his ninth major league season and first with the Mariners, will make his fourth start and second against the Rangers. Although he took a no-decision in his last outing against Texas (April 13) and hasn’t allowed an earned run in his past two starts, Saunders has never had any luck pitching at Rangers Ballpark.
RANGERS: RHP Yu Darvish (2-1, 2.75 ERA, 0.76 WHIP)
The 26-year-old Darvish, the Osaka, Japan native in his second major league season, both with Texas, will make his fourth start and second against the Mariners. Over the past two seasons, Darvish has held Seattle hitters (the current ones) to a .156 batting average. But his ERA against the Mariners is 6.21 — by far his worst against any team with at least two starts. Darvish has lost 10 games in his brief MLB career, and three have been to the Mariners. Darvish came within one out of throwing a perfect game in his season debut at Houston.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|4/19||Fri||at Tex||LHP Joe Saunders (1-1) vs. Yu Darvish (2-1)|
|4/20||Sat||at Tex||RHP Brandon Maurer (1-2) vs. RHP Nick Tepesch (1-1)|
|4/21||Sun||at Tex||RHP Aaron Harang (0-0) vs. LHP Derek Holland (0-1)|
|4/22||Mon||at Hou||RHP Felix Hernandez (1-2) vs. RHP Brad Peacock (1-1)|
|4/23||Tue||at Hou||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (1-0) vs. RHP Bud Norris (2-2)|
|4/24||Wed||at Hou||LHP Joe Saunders (1-1) vs. RHP Lucas Harrell (0-2)|