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.
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.
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.
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.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|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)|