BY SPNW Staff 07:30AM 04/29/2013

#28: Tough Series With O’s Looms For Mariners

No team owned the Mariners more in 2012 than the Baltimore Orioles, who won eight of nine. The two clubs hook up in a three-game series starting Monday at Safeco Field.

LHP Joe Saunders, who starts for the Mariners against he Baltimore Orioles Monday night, is 7-0, 1.71 ERA in his career at Safeco Field. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

GAME:  Orioles (15-10, 3rd, AL East, -3.0 GB) at Mariners (11-16, 3rd, AL West, -6.0 GB). GAME #: 28. SERIES: 1st of 3 games. MEETING: 1st (Orioles won 2012 series 8-1). WHEN: Monday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners W 2; Orioles L 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network

Except as an innings eater, LHP Joe Saunders is pretty worthless when he throws for the Mariners away from Safeco Field. Wednesday, for example, the seven-win, $25 million payroll Houston Astros butchered Saunders for 11 hits and eight earned runs in five innings at Minute Maid Park, making Saunders’ road ledger read 0-3 with a 12.51 ERA in three starts. But it has been an entirely different story at home.

Saunders has yet to allow an earned run in 13.1 Safeco innings and is 7-0 with a 1.71 career ERA in 11 starts at the ballpark covering 68.1 innings. Even more noteworthy, perhaps, is that Saunders is 5-0 in seven career starts against the Baltimore Orioles.

Saunders pitched for the O’s briefly last year after his trade to the crab capital by Arizona and will face them Monday night when Seattle begins the first of the three against the AL East’s third-place club.

This shapes up as a difficult series for the Mariners, who collected their first series win of the season Sunday by defeating the Angels 2-1. Although they lost 9-8 Sunday in Oakland, the Orioles won three of four from the Athletics, have won five of seven overall, and beat the Mariners eight of nine last year.

The Orioles rank fifth in batting average, seventh in on-base percentage and fourth in slugging. The Mariners are 13th, 13th and 14th in the same categories even after disposing of the Angels three times in four games.

According to multiple reports, Saunders came close to facing former Mariner ace Freddy Garcia Monday. Garcia, who spent 2012 with the Yankees, failed to find a major league team this year after signing with San Diego, which released him March 27. Garcia, 36, hooked on with Baltimore, which assigned him to the AAA Norfolk Tides.

The Orioles almost summoned Garcia from Norfolk to pitch Monday after he went 3-0, but instead opted for 25-year-old Zach Britton, who will make his third career start against Seattle. A closer look at the probables:


MARINERS: LHP Joe Saunders (1-3, 6.33 ERA, 1.77 WHIP)

The 31-year-old Saunders, a Virginia native in his ninth major league season and first with the Mariners, will make his sixth start and first against the Angels, the team Saunders broke in with in 2005. Saunders played for the Angels through mid-2010 when they dealt him to Arizona. In his five starts, Saunders has twice allowed no earned runs and three times allowed at least four. His last two outings, both on the road, have been his worst of the season. Overall, Saunders has allowed 20 earned runs on 36 hits.

  • LAST START: April 24 at Houston, lost 10-3; 8 earned runs on 11 hits in 5.0 innings; 2 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 home runs, 84 pitches, 50 for strikes.
  • LAST VS. ORIOLES: July 5, 2009, took a no-decision in the Angels 9-6 victory; 6 earned runs on 7 hits in 5.1 innings; 2 strikeouts, 3 walks, 2 home runs, 111 pitches, 64 for strikes.
  • CAREER VS. ORIOLES: 5-0, 4.73 ERA in 7 starts covering 40.0 innings; 11 strikeouts, 12 walks, 4 home runs, 1.66 WHIP
  • AT SAFECO FIELD: 7-0, 1.71 ERA in 11 starts covering 68.1 innings; 30 strikeouts, 23 walks, 4 home runs, 1.12 WHIP.
  • LOVES TO FACE: Alexi Casilla (0-for-3, .000), Chris Davis (2-for-13, .154), Adam Jones (3-for-13, .231).
  • HATES TO FACE: Matt Wieters (2-for-2, 1.000), Wilson Betemit (1-for-3, .333), Brian Roberts (4-for-20, .250).
  • CURRENT ORIOLES VS. SAUNDERS: 21-for-85, .247 BA, 16 strikeouts, 6 walks, 4 home runs, .297 on-base percentage.

ORIOLES: Zach Britton (1-0, 1.98 ERA, 1.46 WHIP*)

The 25-year-old Britton, a Panorama, CA., native in his third major season, all with the Orioles, will make his first start following his summons Friday from the AAA Norfolk Tides, where he went 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA (13.2IP, 3ER) in three starts. The left-hander is 16-14 with a 4.74 ERA (214.2 IP, 113 ER) in 40 games (39 starts) in the major leagues since 2011.

*=Stats with Norfolk Tides

  • LAST START: Sept. 15, 2012, lost to Oakland 5-2; 5 earned runs on 4 hits in 4.0 innings; 4 strikeouts, 4 walks, 1 home run, 86 pitches, 46 for strikes.
  • LAST VS. MARINERS: Aug. 7, 2012, had a no-decision in Baltimore’s 8-7 win working in relief; 4 earned runs on 7 hits in 5.0 innings; 6 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 home runs, 87 pitches, 46 for strikes.
  • CAREER VS. MARINERS: 0-0, 2.57 ERA in 2 starts covering 14.0 innings; 11 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 home runs, 0.92 WHIP.
  • AT SAFECO FIELD: Never pitched.
  • LOVES TO FACE: Michael Saunders (0-for-6, .000), Kelly Shoppach (0-for-5, .000), Michael Morse (0-for-2, .000).
  • HATES TO FACE: Jesus Montero (2-for-4, .500), Dustin Ackley (1-for-3, .333), Kyle Seager (1-or-3, .333).
  • CURRENT MARINERS VS. BRITTON: 5-for-26, .192 BA, 9 strikeouts, 2 walks, 1 home run, .250 on-base percentage.


  • CURRENT HOME STAND: Four vs. L.A. Angels, three vs. the Baltimore Orioles (Monday-Wednesday). Following a day off Thursday, the Mariners will play three at Toronto (May 3-5) and two at Pittsburgh (May 7-8).
  • The Mariners completed a four-game home series sweep against the Angels Sunday, their first such sweep since June 16-19, 2003.
  • Although he failed to factor in the decision Sunday, Hisashi Iwakuma is 4-0 in six career appearances against the Angels. With his outing Sunday, Iwakuma lowered his season ERA to 1.67. He fanned 19 batters in his past two starts.
  • Kyle Seager’s 16-game hitting streak, longest in the majors this season, came to an end Sunday when he went 0-for-4. Seager hit .390 during the streak.
  • Carter Capps recorded his second career win Sunday and has allowed just one run over his past five appearances with nine strikeouts.
  • Dustin Ackley has a nine-game hitting streak in progress and Endy Chavez an eight-game streak.
  • Tom Wilhelmsen, who notched his eighth save in eight chances Sunday, has not allowed an earned run in his last nine appearances. His ERA is 0.75.
  • The Mariners went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position Sunday after going 1-for-13 with RISP Saturday.
  • In the Mariners’ 11 victories, they are batting .310 (27-for-87) with runners in scoring position. In 16 losses, the Mariners are batting .114 (12-for-105) with RISP. The Mariners have no hits with RISP nine times in 27 games.
  • The Mariners are in the midst of 16 games in 16 days. They will finally get a day off Thursday.


Date Day Opp. Probable Pitchers
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)



  • notaboomer

    and by tough, you mean the three crappy Ms pitchers are on the mound.