The Mariners have a chance Saturday to pull within a game of .500 when they contest the Cleveland Indians in the second game of a four-game series at Progressive Field.
GAME: Mariners (20-22, T2, AL West, -7-0 GB) at Indians (23-17, T1, AL Central, 0.0 GB). GAME #: 43. SERIES: 2nd of 4 games. MEETING: 2nd (Indians lead series 1-0). WHEN: Saturday, 10:05 a.m., Progressive Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Indians W 2. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Lefty Joe Saunders has described the Jekyll & Hyde discrepancy in his home and road records as a “fluke.” But 3-0, 0.94 in four Safeco starts vs. 0-4, 12.54 away from Safeco reads more like a trend than an anomaly. More evidence on this curious phenomenon will be gathered Saturday when Saunders probes the dangers of Progressive Field in the second of four against the Cleveland Indians.
Saunders catches a minor break Saturday. His mound foe, RHP Zach McAllister is just 7-7, 4.49 in his career at Progressive Field and has worked into the seventh inning this season just twice in seven starts.
The Mariners dropped the opener 6-3 Friday when the unlikely Jason Kipnis, a .236 hitter, ripped a three-run, walk-off homer off Lucas Luetge in the bottom of the 10th. That denied Seattle a third consecutive victory on the nine-game road trip and sent the Mariners (20-22) into a tie for second place in the AL West with Oakland.
Saunders, who has pitched in the major leagues for nine years, has never won a game in Cleveland, which may or may not be an omen.
MARINERS: LHP Joe Saunders (3-4, 5.51 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)
The 31-year-old Saunders, a Fairfax, VA., native in his ninth major league season and first with Seattle, will make his ninth start and first against the Indians. Saunders, 3-0, 1.84 ERA at home, gets his fifth chance to finally win on the road, where he is 0-4, 12.54 with 26 earned runs allowed. Saunders threw his best game of the year April 29 when he recorded a 6-2, complete-game win over Baltimore at Safeco Field. He’s worked into the seventh inning in four of his starts.
INDIANS: RHP Zach McAllister (3-3, 2.68 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)
The 25-year-old McAllister, an Illinois native in his third major league season, all with Cleveland, will make his eighth start and first against the Mariners. After losing three of his first four starts, McAllister has won two of his past three. He had his best outing May 7 when he blanked Oakland on five hits over 7.2 innings. He has pitched into the seventh inning three times.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|5/18||Sat||at Clev||LHP Joe Saunders (3-4) vs. RHP Zach McAllister (3-3)|
|5/19||Sun||at Clev||RHP Felix Hernandez (5-2) vs. RHP Justin Masterson (6-2)|
|5/20||Mon||at Clev||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (4-1) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (2-1)|
|5/21||Tue||at LAA||RHP Aaron Harang (1-4) vs. TBA|
|5/22||Wed||at LAA||RHP Brandon Maurer (2-5) vs. TBA|