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

#29: No NBA Team, But Mariners Take Flight

After a sparkling performance by Joe Saunders Monday at Safeco Field, the Mariners are in position to win four in a row when they contest the Orioles Tuesday.

The Mariners traded OF Adam Jones to the Orioles Feb. 8, 2008 in a package for LHP Erik Bedard. Jones has made two American League All-Star teams (2009, 2012), since the swap. / Wiki Commons

GAME: Orioles (15-11, 3rd, AL East, -3.5 GB) at Mariners (12-16, 3rd, AL West, -5.5 GB). GAME #: 29. SERIES: 2nd of 3 games. MEETING: 2nd (Mariners lead 1-0). WHEN: Tuesday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners W 3; Orioles L 2. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network

Based on a unanimous vote by the NBA’s relocation committee Monday, which advised that the Sacramento Kings should stay where they are, Seattle probably won’t be acquiring an NBA franchise any time soon, dashing the hopes of thousands who loathe commissioner David Stern and still rue the 2008 loss of the Sonics. It’s probably not a whole lot of consolation that the Mariners have won three in a row for the first time this season.

While winning three in a row is not a big deal anywhere else, where the Mariners are concerned it’s practically epic stuff, which says a lot about the Mariners, none of it good.

The Mariners won two straight to start the season, but didn’t win two more in a row until nearly a month had elapsed, prompting the flight of many fans who thought this season might amount to something more than the usual annual tooth grinder.

Now, with a 6-2 win over Baltimore Monday night at Safeco Field, the Mariners have a shot at actually winning four in a row when Seattle and Baltimore play the second of three Tuesday.

Brandon Maurer, apparently recovered from a pair botched starts to begin the season when his 16.20 ERA seemingly had him ticketed for some long minor-league bus rides, will be hard pressed to duplicate what “Safeco Joe” Saunders did Monday — pitch a complete game to improve to 8-0, 1.75 lifetime at Safeco Field.

But Maurer is 2-1, 1.89 in his last three starts and appears to be gaining confidence. Tuesday, he’ll face RHP Jason Hammels, who topped the Oakland Athletics in his last start. A closer look at the probables, neither of whom will ever be Kevin Durant:


MARINERS: RHP Brandon Maurer (2-3, 5.61 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)

The 22-year-old Maurer, a Newport Beach, CA., native in his rookie season with the Mariners, will make his sixth start and first against the Orioles. Maurer, having made the jump from AA to the majors, lost his first two starts, posting a 16.20 ERA in his first 6.2 MLB innings. But he’s rebounded to win two of his past three, including his last one, when he pitched 6.1 scoreless innings against the Los Angeles Angels. The Mariners selected Maurer in the 23rd round of the 2008 amateur draft.

  • LAST START: April 25, defeated the Angels 6-0 at Safeco Field; 0 earned runs on 7 hits in 6.1 innings; 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 93 pitches, 63 for strikes.
  • LAST VS. ORIOLES: Never pitched.
  • CAREER VS. ORIOLES: No record.
  • AT SAFECO FIELD: 2-1, 5.54 ERA in 3 starts covering 13.0 innings; 13 strikeouts, 3 walks, 0 home runs, 1.69 WHIP.
  • LOVES/HATES TO FACE: Maurer has not faced a current member of the Baltimore roster.

ORIOLES: RHP Jason Hammel (3-1, 3.82 ERA, 1.14 WHIP)

The 30-year-old Hammel, a Greenville, SC., native in his eighth major league season and second with the Orioles, will make his sixth start and first against the Mariners. A graduate of South Kitsap High, Hammel was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 10th round of the 2002 amateur draft. Hammel worked into the sixth inning in each of his starts and had his best outing April 13 when he defeated the Yankees 5-3, allowing 3 runs on eight hits. He will enter Tuesday’s game having won two of his past three starts.

  • LAST START: April 25, defeated Oakland 10-2; 2 earned runs on 3 hits in 6.0 innings; 2 strikeouts, 2 walks, 0 home runs, 104 pitches, 59 for strikes.
  • LAST VS. MARINERS: July 2, 2012, lost 6-3; 4 earned runs on 7 hits in 6.2 innings; 8 strikeouts, 2 walks, 0 home runs, 114 pitches, 72 for strikes.
  • CAREER VS. MARINERS: 1-1, 3.79 ERA in 4 games, including 2 starts, covering 19.0 innings; 21 strikeouts, 2 walks, 0 home runs, 1.15 WHIP.
  • AT SAFECO FIELD: 0-1, 4.61 ERA in 4 starts covering 13.2 innings; 15 strikeouts, 2 walks, 0 home runs, 1.24 WHIP.
  • LOVES TO FACE: Kyle Seager (0-for-3, .000), Jason Bay (1-for-5, .200), Michael Morse (1-for-5, .200).
  • HATES TO FACE: Brendan Ryan (2-for-5, .400), Kendrys Morales (2-for-6, .333), Raul Ibanez (5-for-20, .250).
  • CURRENT MARINERS VS. HAMMEL: 15-for-59, .254 BA, 14 strikeouts, 3 walks, 2 home runs, .286 on-base percentage.


  • CURRENT HOME STAND: Four vs. L.A. Angels (Thursday-Sunday), 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 have won a season-high three consecutive games and are 4-1 on the current home stand.
  • The complete game by Joe Saunders Monday night was the first by a Mariners pitcher this season. Saunder is 8-0 with a 1.75 ERA at Safeco Field.
  • Michael Saunders, who hit a home run Monday in his return to the team after a stint on the disabled list, has an eight-game hitting streak going during which he is batting .321.
  • Jason Bay had three hits in Seattle’s 6-2 win over Baltimore Monday, his first three-hit game since Aug. 31, 2011, when he played for the Mets.
  • Kyle Seager, who went 2-for-4 Monday, has hit successfully in 17 of his past 18 games.
  • In the Mariners’ 12 victories, they are batting .315 (29-for-92) 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 28 games.
  • The Mariners Monday recalled OF Michael Saunders from a rehab assignment at AAA Tacoma and optioned OF Carlos Peguero to the Rainiers. Saunders, who staked the Mariners to a 1-0 lead Monday with a solo homer, has been on the disabled list since April 11 with an injured right shoulder.
  • The Mariners will take their first day off Thursday after playing 16 games in 16 days.


Date Day Opp. Probable Pitchers
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)
5/3 Fri at Tor RHP Felix Hernandez (3-2) vs. TBA
5/4 Sat at Tor RHP Joe Saunders (1-3) vs. TBA
5/5 Sun at Tor RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (2-1) vs. TBA



  • Jamo57

    So I guess the Mariners’ ‘Regional Sports Network’ just lost all it’s winter programming for the forseeable future. They just can’t do anything right can they? Of course knowing their tone-deafness in the PR realm they will probably torture us with Portland Trailblazer games.

    • Trygvesture

      Luckily for the Ms, they don’t “operate” a RSP…

  • Trygvesture

    (baltimore, not detroit…)

    • sportspressnw

      Whoops. Thank you, corrected.

  • Lincoln

    Good thing the M’s have that $130-million retractable roof over the stadium to protect fans from the hour of sprinkles and light rain that fell during the game last night. Without that roof, the M’s almost certainly would not have had a sell-out crowd last night.