Brandon Maurer (1-2) bombed in his first two MLB starts, but came back to record a 4-3 win over Texas for his first major league win April 14. He faces the Rangers again Saturday.
GAME: Mariners (7-11, 3rd, AL West, -5.5 GB) at Rangers (10-6, 2nd, AL West, -1.5 GB). GAME #: 19. SERIES: 2nd of 3 games. MEETING: 6th (Rangers lead 3-2). WHEN: Saturday, 5:05 p.m., Rangers Ballpark. STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Rangers W 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
The Mariners have an embarrassing — it’s way early to say historic — trend going. In their past three games, Seattle batters have struck out 44 times — 19 whiffs against Detroit Wednesday, followed by 12 against the Tigers Thursday, followed by 13 against the Texas Rangers Friday.
Through 18 games, while posting a disappointing but predictable 7-11 record (7-0 loss to Texas Friday) the Mariners have whiffed 148 times, an average of 8.2 times per game. Now consider:
When the 1986 Mariners, “led” by Jimmy Presley (172) and Danny Tartabull (157), became the first team in franchise history to record more than 1,100 seasonal punchouts with 1,148, they averaged 7.08 batter strikeouts per game.
That dubious “sub-standard” stood until 2011, when the Mariners, paced by Miguel Olivo’s 140, fanned 1,280 times — 7.9 per game. So here are the 2013 Mariners, whiffing 8.2 times per contest. Sure, it’s early. Still . . .
The Mariners, who have five double-digit batter strikeout games so far, will take their licks Saturday against RHP Nick Tepesch, a rookie who averages 6.9 strikeouts per nine innings, but had only five the last time he saw the Mariners, April 14 at Safeco Field.
Tepesch (1-1) will be opposed by RHP Brandon Maurer (1-2), who recorded his first career win in that game after a pair of rocky outings. A closer look at the probables:
MARINERS: RHP Brandon Maurer (1-2, 9.95 ERA, 1.73 WHIP)
The 22-year-old Maurer, a Newport Beach, CA., native in his first major league season, will make his fourth start and second against the Rangers. Maurer flirted with losing his spot in the rotation after allowing 12 earned runs on 15 hits in his first two outings, the second of which lasted just two outs. But Maurer recovered in his last start against Texas to post his first major league win and shelve talk about a demotion.
RANGERS: RHP Nick Tepesch (1-1, 3.46 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)
The 24-year-old Tepesch, a Missouri native in first major league season, will make his third start and second against the Mariners. Tepesch won his major league debut April 9 against Tampa Bay, allowing one earned run on four hits in 7.1 innings. But the Mariners hit pretty hard in his second outing, pinning a 4-3 defeat on him. The Rangers selected the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Tepesch in the 14th round of the 2010 amateur draft.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|4/20||Sat||at Tex||RHP Brandon Maurer (1-2) vs. RHP Nick Tepesch (1-1)|
|4/21||Sun||at Tex||RHP Aaron Harang (0-1) vs. RHP Justin Grimm (0-0)|
|4/22||Mon||at Hou||RHP Felix Hernandez (1-2) vs. RHP Brad Peacock (1-1)|
|4/23||Tue||at Hou||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (2-0) vs. RHP Bud Norris (2-2)|
|4/24||Wed||at Hou||LHP Joe Saunders (1-2) vs. RHP Lucas Harrell (0-2)|