GAME: Mariners (8-13, 4th, AL West, -6.0 GB) at Astros (5-14, 5th, AL West, -8.0 GB). GAME #: 22. SERIES: 2nd of 3 games. MEETING: 5th (series tied 2-2). WHEN: Tuesday, 5:10 p.m., Minute Maid Park. STREAKS: Mariners W 1; …
GAME: Mariners (8-13, 4th, AL West, -6.0 GB) at Astros (5-14, 5th, AL West, -8.0 GB). GAME #: 22. SERIES: 2nd of 3 games. MEETING: 5th (series tied 2-2). WHEN: Tuesday, 5:10 p.m., Minute Maid Park. STREAKS: Mariners W 1; Astros L 3. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
The Mariners are 21 games into the 2013 season and have not had a winning streak longer than two games. Those now-distant back-to-back wins occurred against Oakland in the first two games of the season April 1-2, which helps explain why Seattle is already six games out of first place in the AL West and has the fan base — what there is left of it — grumbling.
The Mariners’ best chance for a second victory in a row will come Tuesday when they face the last-place Houston Astros in the second of two contests at Minute Maid Park. Not only did the Mariners get a measure of confidence back with their 7-1 victory Monday, finally making a career 100-game winner out of Felix Hernandez, they will have Hisashi Iwakuma on the mound.
Iwakuma (2-0, 1.69 ERA) has been Seattle’s most consistently effective starter this season and, if you subscribe to WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings pitched), as good as any pitcher in the American League. In fact, his 0.525 WHIP leads the majors.
The only issue with Iwakuma is the blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand. That’s so far limited his ability to deep into games (six innings in his last start vs. Detroit).
The Mariners have scored five runs in Iwakuma’s past two starts and Tuesday will take a look at Bud Norris, who is coming off the shortest start — 0.2 innings — of his major league career. Norris has never pitched against the Mariners. A closer look:
MARINERS: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (2-0, 1.69 ERA, 0.52 WHIP)
The 32-year-old Iwakuma, a Tokyo native in his second major league season, both with the Mariners, will make his fifth start and first against the Astros. Iwakuma has pitched well enough to win all four of his starts but has taken two no-decisions largely due to a lack of run support. He has worked into the seventh inning just once.
RANGERS: Bud Norris (2-2, 4.74 ERA, 1.47 WHIP)
The 28-year-old Norris, a Greenbrae, CA., native in his fifth major league season, all with the Astros, will make his fifth start and first against the Mariners. Selected by Houston in the sixth round of the 2006 amateur draft, Norris has alternated wins and losses and is coming off his worst outing of the season: He didn’t get out of the first inning. He had his best start against the Angels April 12, when he did not allow an earned run in seven innings. Norris has never faced the Mariners.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|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)|
|4/25||Thr||vs. LAA||RHP Brandon Maurer (1-3) vs. TBA|
|4/26||Fri||vs. LAA||RHP Aaron Harang (0-2) vs. TBA|
|4/27||Sat||vs. LAA||RHP Felix Hernandez (2-2) vs. TBA|