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.
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.
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.
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.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|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)|