After closing out a four-game series with the Angels Sunday, the Mariners will play three against the Baltimore Orioles and then take off Thursday before hitting the road.
GAME: Angels (9-14, 3rd, AL West, -6.5 GB) at Mariners (10-16, 4th, AL West, -7.0 GB). GAME #: 27. SERIES: 4th of 4 games. MEETING: 4th (Mariners lead 2-1). WHEN: Sunday, 1:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners W 1; Angels L 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
The Mariners opened their 37th season with a two-game winning streak (at Oakland), and have had multiple opportunities since to put together another one. But in a tooth pull worthy of W.C. Fields’ classic skit “The Dentist,” the Mariners haven’t been able to get it done. Sunday might be the day.
After riding another gem by Felix Hernandez to a 3-2 victory over the LA Angels Saturday night, the Mariners can record their second consecutive win Sunday when they and the Halos close out a four-game series at Safeco Field. If the Mariners win, they will also notch their first series victory of the season.
A whole month without so much as one series win is pretty abysmal, and the Mariners would seem to have a nice rectifier available. Good as Hernandez was Saturday, and over his past three, Hisashi Iwakuma has been Seattle’s most consistent starter so far. He also has an intriguing matchup lurking, opposite the Mariners’ leading winner from 2012.
After Jason Vargas won 14 times last season, the Mariners were in such dire need of offense that they traded him to the division rival Angels for Kendrys Morales, who delivered what proved to be the winning hit Saturday.
Vargas hasn’t exactly flourished since the swap, a victim, in part, of his new team’s struggles. He has yet to post his first win for LA, has a 5.82 ERA and has surrendered 34 hits in 24.2 innings.
Vargas has never pitched against his former team (not even when he was with Florida), but he has faced Morales, who is 5-for-12 (.417) against him, another reason the Mariners have a shot at the hugely elusive two wins in a row.
MARINERS: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (2-1, 1.99 ERA, 0.72 WHIP)
The 32-year-old Iwakuma, a Tokyo native in his second major league season, both with the Mariners, will make his sixth start and first against the Angels. Iwakuma, who has been bothered by a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand, has been Seattle’s most effective starter in spite of the injury, sporting a 1.99 ERA and major league-leading 0.72 WHIP. He is coming off his first loss of the season despite allowing just two earned runs while striking out 11.
ANGELS: LHP Jason Vargas (0-2, 5.82 ERA, 2.03 WHIP)
The 30-year-old Vargas, an Apple Valley, CA., native in his eighth major league season and first with the Angels, will make his fifth start and first against the Mariners, for whom he pitched from 2009-12 before a trade for Kendrys Morales sent him to Anaheim. Vargas has gotten off to a less-than ideal start with his new club, having allowed 14 earned runs on 34 hits in just 21.2 innings.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|4/28||Sun||vs. LAA||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (2-1) vs. LHP Jason Vargas (0-2)|
|4/29||Mon||vs. Bal||LHP Joe Saunders (1-3) vs. LHP Zach Britton (0-0)|
|4/30||Tue||vs. Bal||RHP Brandon Maurer (2-3) vs. RHP Jason Hammell (3-1)|
|5/1||Wed||vs. Bal||RHP Aaron Harang (0-3) LHP Wei-Yin Chen (1-2)|