The Mariners, bludgeoned by a combined 12-0 in the past two games, will try to salvage something — anything — when they end a three-game series with the Rangers Sunday in Arlington.
GAME: Mariners (7-12, 4th, AL West, -5.5 GB) at Rangers (11-6, 2nd, AL West, -0.5 GB). GAME #: 20. SERIES: 3rd of 3 games. MEETING: 7th (Texas leads 4-2). WHEN: Sunday, 12:05 p.m., Rangers Ballpark. STREAKS: Mariners L 2; Rangers W 2. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Critics rebuked — properly so — the 2012 Mariners for ranking 14th and last in the American League in batting average (.234), on-base percentage (.296) and slugging (.369). The Mariners tried to rectify these blemishes to their statistical portfolio by importing Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse and Raul Ibanez, but so far what the Mariners have to show for the upgrades is nada, nil and zip, take your pick.
After sustaining back-to-back 7-0 and 5-0 losses to start a six-game road trip through Texas and Houston, Seattle’s first consecutive goose-egg games since June 24-25, 2012, the Mariners rank 15th in batting average (.218), 13th in on-base percentage (.285) and 15th in slugging (.342) — worse across the board in every category.
With 156 strikeouts, the Mariners are also on pace to whiff 1,330 times, which would break the franchise single-season record of 1,280 set in 2011.
The Mariners have been scoreless the past 19 innings and totaled five runs in their last five games, a drought that new No. 4 starter Aaron Harang will inherit Sunday when he attempts to keep Seattle from suffering its first series sweep of a rapidly deteriorating campaign (9-10 after 19 games a year ago).
Harang, who allowed three earned runs in his first Seattle start last week against Detroit, has made only three career starts at Rangers Ballpark, but they are three he would prefer to forget (12.34 ERA). He will oppose LHP Justin Grimm, who had a forgettable no-decision against the Mariners April 11. A closer look:
MARINERS: RHP Aaron Harang (0-1, 5.40 ERA, 1.40 WHIP)
The 34-year-old Harang, a San Diego native in his 12th major league season and first with the Mariners, will make his second start and first against the Rangers, a club he hasn’t faced since 2007. Harang, who became Seattle’s No. 4 starter when he replaced Blake Beavan in the rotation, is probably not looking forward to pitching at Rangers Ballpark. In three career starts there covering 11.2 innings, Harang has a bulbous 12.34 ERA.
RANGERS: LHP Justin Grimm (0-0, 4.50 ERA, 2.00 WHIP)
The 24-year-old Grimm, a Bristol, TN., native in his second major league season, both with Texas, will make his second start and second against the Mariners. Grimm made his first start last Thursday and allowed two runs in four innings. He was called up from AAA Round Rock after Matt Harrison went on the disabled list with a strained back. Grimm was supposed to start Wednesday, but the game was rained out.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|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)|