BY SPNW Staff 07:15AM 05/12/2013

#38: ‘Safeco Joe’ Aims To Continue Trend Sunday

The Mariners blew a chance to move into second place in the AL West Saturday, but can capture the three-game series with the A’s Sunday at Safeco Field.

 ”Safeco Joe” Saunders is 8-0 at home with a 0.81 ERA. He goes against the Oakland Athletics Sunday. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

GAME: Athletics (19-19, 2nd, AL West, -5.0 GB) at Mariners (17-20, 3rd, AL West, -6.5 GB). GAME #: 38. SERIES: 3rd of 3 games. MEETING: 7th (series tied 3-3). WHEN: Sunday, 1:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Athletics W 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network

After Brandon Maurer’s tepid outing — three runs on six hits in 5.0 innings — Saturday night in a 4-3 loss to the Oakland A’s, the Mariners are 1-12 when their starting pitcher fails to complete the sixth inning. The good news for Seattle is that Joe Saunders will pitch the final of a three-game series against the Athletics Sunday afternoon.

Saunders has made three home starts this season and won two, his only wins of the season. In the victories, April 8 vs. Houston and April 29 vs. Baltimore, Saunders went 6.1 and 9.0 innings, respectively. In a no-decision April 13 vs. Texas, Saunders worked 7.0 innings, allowing just one earned run on three hits. He might have won if the Mariners had generated any offense.

Saunders and the Mariners, who botched an opportunity to move into second place in the AL West Saturday, still have a chance to take the series with the A’s. Saunders will oppose Tommy Milone, who has pretty much had his way –3-1, 2.63 ERA — in his six career starts against them.

SUNDAY’S PROBABLES

MARINERS: LHP Joe Saunders (2-4, 6.15 ERA, 1.56 WHIP)

The 31-year-old Saunders, a Springfield, VA., native in his ninth major league season and first with the Mariners, will make his eighth start and second against the Athletics. The story of Saunders’ season to date is his dominance at Safeco — he’s 2-0, 0.81 — vs. his inability to do anything productive on the road — 0-4, 12.54, ssomething he claims is merely “a fluke.” Saunders posted his best outing April 8, when he blanked the Houston Astros over 6.1 innings en route to his first win as a Mariner.

  • LAST START: May 5 at Toronto, lost 10-2; 7 earned runs on 9 hits over 5.0 innings; 0 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 home runs, 82 pitches, 44 for strikes.
  • LAST VS. ATHLETICS: April 3 at Oakland, lost 6-2; 4 earned runs on 7 hits in 4.0 innings; 3 strikeouts, 4 walk, 0 home runs, 88 pitches, 44 for strikes.
  • CAREER VS. ATHLETICS: 13-6, 3.57 ERA in 21 starts covering 121.0 innings; 74 strikeouts, 42 walks, 10 home runs, 1.34 WHIP.
  • AT SAFECO FIELD: 8-0, 1.75 ERA in 12 starts covering 77.1 innings; 32 strikeouts, 24 walks, 5 home runs, 1.06 WHIP.
  • LOVES TO FACE: Seth Smith (0-for-6, .000), Josh Reddick (1-for-7, .143), Adam Rosales (3-for-13, .231).
  • HATES TO FACE: Scott Sizemore (3-for-5, .600), Josh Donaldson (6-for-11, .545), Jed Lowrie (4-for-12, .333).
  • CURRENT ATHLETICS VS. SAUNDERS: 38-for-118, .322 BA, 14 strikeouts, 13 walks, 3 home runs, .391 on-base percentage.

ATHLETICS: RHP Tommy Milone (3-4, 3.13 ERA, 1.10 WHIP)

The 26-year-old Milone, a Saugus, CA., native in his third major league season and second with Oakland, will make his eighth start and second against the Mariners. Milone opened his season by beating the Mariners 6-2 April 3, but has struggled for a win since, losing his past four decisions. In two of those losses April 26 vs. Baltimore and May 7 at Cleveland, Milone did not allow an earned run and pitched into the seventh inning in both.

  • LAST START: May 7 at Cleveland, lost 1-0; 0 earned runs on 5 hits over 7.0 innings; 5 strikeouts, 0 walks, 0 home runs, 109 pitches, 67 for strikes.
  • LAST VS. MARINERS: April 3, won 6-2; 2 earned runs on 4 hits over 7.0 innings; 4 strikeouts, 1 walk, 102 pitches, 64 for strikes.
  • CAREER VS. MARINERS: 3-1, 2.63 ERA in 6 starts covering 37.2 innings; 36 strikeouts, 4 walks, 4 home runs, 1.11 WHIP.
  • AT SAFECO FIELD: 2-1, 2.84 ERA in 3 starts covering 19.0 innings; 20 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 home runs, 1.10 WHIP.
  • LOVES TO FACE: Jason Bay (0-for-6, .000), Kendrys Morales (0-for-6, .000), Dustin Ackley (1-for-8, .125).
  • HATES TO FACE: Jesus Montero (7-for-14, .500), Michael Morse (1-for-3, .333), Michael Saunders (3-for-11, .273).
  • CURRENT MARINERS VS. MILONE: 27-for-116, .233 BA, 31 strikeouts, 4 walks, 4 home runs, .258 on-base percentage.

MARINERS STATS / NOTES

  • CURRENT HOME STAND: Three vs. Oakland. Following the Oakland series, the Mariners will take off on a nine game road trip to face the Yankees (May 14-16), Indians (May 17-20) and Angels (May 21-22).
  • The Athletics series will be the club’s only games in Seattle between May 1-24.
  • Justin Smoak (1-for-2 Saturday) has hit successfully in 11 of his past 14 games, batting .326 over that span.
  • Dustin Ackley has hit safely in 16 of his past 21, batting .299.
  • Joe Saunders ranks eighth in MLB in earned runs allowed with 28.
  • In the Mariners’ 17 victories, they are batting .296 (40-for-135) with runners in scoring position. In 20 losses, the Mariners are batting .124 (16-for-129) with RISP. The Mariners have no hits with RISP 10 times in 37 games.

UPCOMING PROBABLES

Date Day Opp. Probable Pitchers
5/12 Sun vs. Oak LHP Joe Saunders (2-4) vs. LHP Tommy Milone (3-4)
5/14 Tue at NYY RHP Felix Hernandez (5-2) vs. LHP CC Sabathia (4-3)
5/15 Wed at NYY RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (3-1) vs. RHP Phil Hughes (2-2)
5/16 Thr at NYY RHP Aaron Harang (1-4) vs. LHP (Andy Pettitte (4-2)

 


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