BY SPNW Staff 07:23AM 05/03/2013

#31: Felix, Mariners Take Momentum To Toronto

The Mariners have had just two days off this season, but now will have two more in the next week. They launch a three-game series against Toronto Friday at Rogers Center.

Felix Hernandez, starting Friday in Toronto, has a 1.90 ERA and 0.96 WHIP — best numbers of his major league career. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

GAME: Mariners (13-17, 3rd, AL West, -5.5 GB) at Blue Jays (10-19, 5th, AL East, -10.5 GB). GAME #: 31. SERIES: 1st of 3 games. MEETING: 1st (Mariners won 2012 series 6-3). WHEN: Friday, 4:07 p.m., Rogers Center. STREAKS: Mariners W 1; Blue Jays L 2. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network

Inept for most of April, when a two-game winning streak seemed beyond hope, the Mariners went 13-17 in their first 30 games but had to win consecutive series against the L.A. Angels and Baltimore Orioles in order to get there. The 13-17 mark is the same posted by the Mariners in 2012 after 30 contests.

Last year’s Mariners produced a 12-17 May to fall nine games off the pace and were never a factor after that. Michael Morse might be the difference in Seattle avoiding a similar collapse this season.

Morse, who missed considerable time in April with a fractured little finger, has hit nine of Seattle’s home runs, including three in his past four contests. This is a Griffeyesque 48-home run pace. The 2012 Mariners had 27 homers at the 30-game mark.

Having beaten the Angels and Orioles in series in the home stand, the Mariners will have their two best pitchers, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, in the three-game set in Toronto starting Friday.

Josh Johnson had been scheduled to make the start for Toronto, but was placed on the disabled list with right triceps inflammation. Ricky Romero is now scheduled to start in his place.

FRIDAY’S PROBABLES

MARINERS: RHP Felix Hernandez (3-2, 1.90 ERA, 0.96 WHIP)

The 27-year-old Hernandez, a Venezuela native in his ninth major league season, all with Seattle, will make his seventh start and first against the Blue Jays. Hernandez has allowed just two earned runs over his last three starts and his ERA (1.90) and WHIP (0.96) are on pace for the lowest of his career after six outings. Hernandez, with wins over Houston and the L.A. Angels in his past two starts, is seeking his third consecutive victory.

  • LAST START: April 27 vs. L.A. Angels, won 3-2; 1 earned run on 5 hits over 8.0 innings; 7 strikeouts, 1 walk, 1 home run, 95 pitches, 66 for strikes.
  • LAST VS. BLUE JAYS: Sept. 13, 2012, lost 8-3; 7 earned runs on 10 hits in 4.0 innings; 4 strikeouts, 1 walk, 2 home runs; 90 pitches, 61 for strikes.
  • CAREER VS. BLUE JAYS: 3-4, 5.13 ERA in 9 starts covering 59.2 innings; 53 strikeouts to 21 walks, 9 home runs, 1.39 WHIP.
  • AT ROGERS CENTER: 3-3, 3.75 ERA in 7 starts covering 48.0 innings; 45 strikeouts to 18 walks, 6 home runs, 1.18 WHIP.
  • LOVES TO FACE: J.P. Arencibia (1-for-6, .167), Adam Lind (3-for-16, .188), Mark DeRosa (2-for-9, .222).
  • HATES TO FACE: Melky Cabrera (4-for-14, .286), Rajai Davis (4-for-14, .286), Edwin Encarnacion (3-for-12, .250).
  • CURRENT BLUE JAYS VS. HERNANDEZ: 39-for-149, .262 BA, 37 strikeouts, 11 walks, 3 home runs, .319 on-base percentage.

BLUE JAYS: LHP Ricky Romero (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP)

The 28-year-old Romero, in his fifth major league season, all with Toronto, will make his first start of 2013. A 2011 All-Star, Romero struggled during spring training and started the season in the minors in order to work on his mechanics. Romero had one start with A Dunedin, allowing one run in seven innings.

  • LAST START: Sept. 29, 2012, took a no-decision in Toronto’s 3-2 win over the New York Yankees; 2 earned runs on 6 hits over 3.0 innings; 3 strikeouts, 2 walks, 0 home runs.
  • LAST VS. MARINERS: Sept. 12, lost 3-2; 3 earned runs on 8 hits in 4.0 innings; 3 strikeouts, 4 walks, 1 home run, 87 pitches, 47 for strikes.
  • CAREER VS. MARINERS: 1-3, 3.88 ERA in 8 starts covering 51 innings; 45 strikeouts, 22 walks, 4 home runs, 1.47 WHIP.
  • AT ROGERS CENTER: 27-18, 4.13 ERA in 59 starts covering 364.1 innings; 308 strikeouts, 162 walks, 38 home runs, 1.35 WHIP.
  • LOVES TO FACE: Kelly Shoppach (1-for-17, .059), Brendan Ryan (3-for-16, .188), Robert Andino (5-for-23, .217).
  • HATES TO FACE: Kyle Seager (4-for-6, .667), Kendrys Morales (3-for-8, .375)Dustin Ackley (3-for-9, .333), Jesus Montero (3-for-10, .300).
  • CURRENT MARINERS VS. ROMERO: 33-for-144, .229 BA, 41 strikeouts, 15 walks, 2 home runs, .311 on-base percentage.

MARINERS STATS / NOTES

  • CURRENT ROAD TRIP: Three at Toronto (Friday-Sunday) and two at Pittsburgh (Tuesday-Wednesday). The Mariners return to Safeco Field May 10 for a three-game series with Oakland, then head out on a nine-game road trip during which they will face the Yankees, Indians and Angels.
  • The previous to player to match Michael Morse with nine homers in the first 30 games of a season was Mike Cameron in 2002. That year, Cameron hit four in one contest (May 2 at Chicago).
  • The Mariners are batting .245 as a team. Last year after 30 games, the Mariners were hitting .238.
  • In the Mariners’ 13 victories, they are batting .321 (34-for-106) with runners in scoring position. In 17 losses, the Mariners are batting .115 (13-for-113) with RISP. The Mariners have no hits with RISP nine times in 30 games.
  • The Mariners Thursday added Daren Brown, manager of the AAA Tacoma Rainiers, to their coaching staff to fill in for Jeff Datz, who is underging treatment for cancer.

UPCOMING PROBABLES

Date Day Opp. Probable Pitchers
5/3 Fri at Tor RHP Felix Hernandez (3-2) vs. RHP Josh Johnson (0-1)
5/4 Sat at Tor LHP Joe Saunders (2-3) vs. RHP R.A. Dickey (2-4)
5/5 Sun at Tor RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (2-1) vs. Brandon Morrow (0-2)
5/7 Tue at Pitt RHP Aaron Harang (1-3) vs. RHP James McDonald (2-2)
5/8 Wed at Pitt RHP Felix Hernandez (3-2) vs. RHP A.J. Burnett (2-2)

 


YourThoughts

  • jafabian

    Looking forward to how the lineup goes up against the knuckleballer. Nice piece that SI did on the M’s. Gives me hope for the future, if not this season.