Hisashi Iwakuma (5-1) goes for his sixth victory of the season Monday when the Mariners conclude a four-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. / Wiki Commons
GAME: Mariners (20-24, 3rd, AL West, -9.0 GB) at Indians (25-17, 1st, AL Central, +2.0 GA). GAME #: 45. SERIES: 4th of 4 games. MEETING: 4th (Indians lead 3-0). WHEN: Monday, 9:05 a.m., Progressive Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 3; Indians W 4. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
After losing twice to Cleveland on walk-off hits and a third time in a Felix Hernandez meltdown, the Mariners wrap up their four-game series with the Indians at Progressive Field Monday morning. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma is the main man standing between Seattle and its first four-game losing streak of the season.
Iwakuma (5-1, 1.84 ERA) has been excellent all season — he’s an All-Star candidate — and won his third straight with seven innings of two-run ball in a 12-2 victory over the Yankees his last time out. Opponents are hitting .183 off him, and he has a 0.78 WHIP in nine starts, best in the majors.
He faces an intriguing opponent in Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir, who is trying to make a comeback in the majors after two years of injuries and mechanical issues. As recently as 2012, Kazmir pitched for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. A closer look at Monday’s probables:
MARINERS: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (5-1, 1.84 ERA, 0.78 WHIP)
The 32-year-old Iwakuma, in his second major league season, both with Seattle, will make his 10th start and first against the Indians. Iwakuma seeks his fourth consecutive victory and sixth overall. Iwakuma has 37 strikeouts in his past five outings.
- LAST START: May 15 at New York, won 12-2; 2 earned runs on 8 hits in 7.0 innings; 4 strikeouts, 0 walks, 2 home runs, 89 pitches, 60 for strikes.
- LAST VS. INDIANS: Aug. 22, 2012, took a no-decision in Seattle’s 3-1 win at Safeco Field; 1 earned run on 6 hits in 5.2 innings; 5 strikeouts, 3 walks, 0 home runs, 90 pitches, 59 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. INDIANS: 0-0, 1.86 ERA in 2 games, including 1 start, covering 9.2 innings; 9 strikeouts, 6 walks, 1 home run, 1.55 WHIP.
- AT PROGRESSIVE FIELD: 0-0, 2.25 ERA in 1 appearance covering 4.0 innings; 4 strikeouts, 0 walks, 1 home run, 1.50 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Lou Mason (0-for-3, .000), Nick Swisher (0-for-3, .000), Mark Reynolds (0-for-2, .000).
- HATES TO FACE: Michael Brantley (1-for-3, .333), Asdrubal Cabrera (1-for-4, .250), Carlos Santana (1-for-4, .250).
- CURRENT INDIANS VS. IWAKUMA: 4-for-25, .160 BA, 8 strikeouts, 2 walks, 0 home runs, .222 on-base percentage.
INDIANS: LHP Scott Kazmir (2-2, 5.33 ERA, 1.46 WHIP)
The 29-year-old Kazmir, a Houston native in his ninth major league season and first with Cleveland, will make his sixth start and first against the Mariners. Kazmir, who joined the Indians from the Angels, has yet to pitch into the seventh inning in any of his starts. He had his best outing May 9 vs. Oakland, when he allowed one earned run in 6.0 innings.
LAST START: May 14 at Philadelphia, lost 6-2; 4 earned runs on 6 hits in 5.0 innings; 3 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 home runs, 96 pitches, 60 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: May 28, 2010, pitching for the Angels, lost 8-3; 6 earned runs on 8 hits in 5.1 innings; 1 strikeout, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 86 pitches, 67 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 3-3, 3.27 ERA in 9 starts covering 52.1 innings; 49 strikeouts, 19 walks, 4 home runs, 1.12 WHIP.
- AT PROGRESSIVE FIELD: 3-2, 3.28 ERA in 6 starts covering 35.2 innings; 41 strikeouts, 14 walks, 6 home runs, 1.37 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Michael Saunders (0-for-3, .000), Kendrys Morales (1-for-5, .200), Raul Ibanez (2-for-9, .222).
- HATES TO FACE: Brendan Ryan (1-for-3, .333), Jason Bay (4-for-15, .267), Kelly Shoppach (1-for-4, .250).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. KAZMIR: 17-for-66, .258 BA, 18 strikeouts, 4 walks, 6 home runs, .300 on-base percentage.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT ROAD TRIP: Three at New York (Tuesday-Thursday), four at Cleveland (Friday-Monday), two at L.A. Angels (Tuesday-Wednesday). The Mariners return to Safeco Field Friday to begin a three-game series with the Texas Rangers.
- The five earned runs allowed by Felix Hernandez Sunday marked a season high — he had allowed just four earned runs total in his past six starts.
- Aaron Harang threw before Sunday’s game and manager Eric Wedge said he believes that everything is on track for Harang to make his next scheduled start, Tuesday in Anaheim. Harang missed his last start with back stiffness.
- When Raul Ibanez and Justin Smoak hit back-to-back, two-out home runs in the ninth inning Saturday against the Indians, it was the first time in club history that had occurred to tie a game in the ninth inning or later.
- Sunday’s 6-0 shutout was Seattle’s the third blanking of the year.
- In the Mariners’ 20 victories, they are batting .298 (48-for-161) with runners in scoring position. In 24 losses, the Mariners are batting .112 (18-for-160) with RISP. The Mariners have no hits with RISP 12 times in 44 games.
||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (4-1) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (2-2)
||RHP Aaron Harang (1-4) vs. Jerome Williams (2-1)
||RHP Brandon Maurer (2-5) vs. C.J. Wilson (3-3)