After splitting four games with the San Diego Padres, the Mariners begin a three-game series at Target Field in Minnesota Friday against the Twins.
GAME: Mariners (23-31, 4th, AL West, -10.5 GB) at Twins (23-28, 4th, AL Central, -5.5 GB). GAME #: 55. SERIES: 1st of 3 games. MEETING: 1st (Mariners won 2012 series 8-2). WHEN: Friday, 5:10 p.m., Target Field. STREAKS: Mariners W 1; Twins W 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Nick Franklin appears to have a shot at becoming Seattle’s every-day second baseman, at least in the short term, after his performance the past two days. After making his major league debut three nights ago, Franklin collected his first big league hit Wednesday and encored with two home runs Thursday in Seattle’s 7-1 victory over San Diego.
Asked by Root Sports after what became a five-homer Seattle assault, which snapped a two-game Seattle losing streak, about his long balls, Franklin said, “Really, the most important thing is that we won. That’s the exciting thing.” Obviously, not a sabermetrics guy.
With Hisashi Iwakuma (5-1, 2.35 ERA) on the mound Monday, the Mariners have a chance to extend the excitement at the expense of the Minnesota Twins, a team Seattle dominated last year by winning eight of 10.
Despite Wednesday’s victory, the Mariners are headed for another irrelevant season. Not so Iwakuma. His 0.84 WHIP leads the American League and his 2.35 ERA is just points above the franchise single-season record of 2.27 by Felix Hernandez in 2010.
Iwakuma has faced the Twins just twice in his year and a half in the majors, but he’s won both starts and is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA at Target Field. Iwakuma will oppose Mike Pelfry, a pitcher that only Raul Ibanez, among Mariners regulars, has ever faced.
MARINERS: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (5-1, 2.35 ERA, 0.84 WHIP)
The 32-year-old Iwakuma, a Tokyo native in his second major league season, both with the Mariners, will make his 12th start and first against the Twins. Iwakuma finished May with a 3-0 record and 3.09 ERA and has been consistent all season with the lowest WHIP in the AL at 0.84 and an opponent batting average of just .193. He held Texas to two runs in eight innings in a no-decision in his last start.
TWINS: RHP Mike Pelfrey (3-5, 6.85 ERA, 1.76 WHIP)
The 29-year-old Pelfrey, an Ohio native in his eighth major league season and first with the Twins, will make his 11th start and first against the Mariners. Pelfrey continued his season-long struggles with a subpar outing vs. the Tigers last Sunday. He gave up five runs on five hits and three walks over 5.2 innings to mark the eighth time in 10 starts he failed to go at least six innings.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|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)|