A 3-2 walk-off loser Wednesday, the Mariners conclude their two-game visit to Petco Park Thursday and then head to Minneapolis.
GAME: Mariners (22-31, 4th, AL West, -10.5 GB) at Padres (24-28, 4th, NL West, -6.0 GB). GAME #: 54. SERIES: 2nd of 2 games. MEETING: 4th (Padres lead 2-1). WHEN: Thursday, 12:40 p.m., Petco Park. STREAKS: Mariners L 2; Padres W 2. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Between April 22-May 8, Felix Hernandez won a season-high four consecutive starts. In the four, he pitched at least 6.0 innings and did allow more than one earned run in any of them. In fact, in two, he allowed no earned runs. It didn’t get a lot of attention at the time, but Hernandez’s work in those four starts was amazing in terms of Mariners history.
Only four other pitchers in franchise annals had a four-start stretch like that within one season: Mark Langston in 1988, Scott Bankhead in 1989 (5 in a row), Randy Johnson in 1997 (5) and Jarrod Washburn in 2009.
Since those four starts, Hernandez has gone in the opposite direction. After taking a no-decision against the Yankees May 14, in which he again allowed one earned run, he’s allowed 10 earned runs in his last two, both losses.
Time for Felix to do a 180, and Petco Park is the perfect venue for him. In five career starts there, Hernandez is 4-0 with a 1.63 ERA and 0.82 WHIP. Thursday, he’ll oppose Andrew Cashner, winner of his last three, who will face a Mariner squad that has lost seven consecutive road games. With Wednesday’s 3-2 loss (through no fault of Joe Saunders), Seattle has dropped 10 of its past 12.
“We have got to get the offense going,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said after the game. “That’s what sticks with you during runs like this. We’re not scoring enough runs and we’re inconsistent. The guys have to step up.”
No one stepped up Wednesday, not even Kendrys Morales, who had an eight-game hitting streak snapped. The Mariners had four hits for the second consecutive game and rank 14th in the AL in runs scored, 15th in batting average (.237) and 13th in on-base percentage (.306).
MARINERS: RHP Felix Hernandez (5-4, 2.51 ERA, 1.08 WHIP)
The 27-year-old Hernandez, in his ninth major league season, all with the Mariners, will make his 12th start and first against the Padres. Hernandez has been roughed up in his last two starts, both losses, allowing 10 earned runs on 19 hits in the pair. He had a no-decision immediately preceding those losses and hasn’t won since May at Pittsburgh, when he concluded a four-game winning streak.
PADRES: RHP Andrew Cashner 4-2, 3.28 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
The 26-year-old Cashner, a Conroe, TX., native in his fourth major league season and second with San Diego, will make his eighth start and first against the Mariners. Cashner began the season working out of the San Diego bullpen and didn’t make his first start until April 20 (lost 2-0 to San Francisco). He collected his first win April 26 and since has won four of five decisions, including three in a row.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|5/30||Thr||at SD||RHP Felix Hernandez (5-3) vs. RHP Andrew Cashner (3-2)|
|5/31||Fri||at Minn||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (5-1) vs. RHP Mike Pelfrey (3-5)|
|6/1||Sat||at Minn||RHP Aaron Harang (2-5) vs. RHP Kevin Correia (5-4)|
|6/2||Sun||at Minn||TBA vs. LHP Scott Diamond (3-4)|
|6/3||Mon||vs. CWS||LHP Joe Saunders (3-5) vs. LHP John Danks (0-0)|
|6/4||Tue||vs. CWS||RHP Felix Hernandez (5-4) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (6-2)|
|6/5||Wed||vs. CWS||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (5-1) vs. RHP Dylan Axelrod (3-3)|