Nothing new here: Joe Mauer leads the Minnesota Twins with a .332 batting average. The Mariners and Twins play the second of three Saturday. / Wiki Commons
GAME: Mariners (24-31, 4th, AL West, -10.5 GB) at Twins (23-29, 4th, AL Central, -5.5 GB). GAME #: 56. SERIES: 2nd of 3 games. MEETING: 2nd (Mariners lead 1-0). WHEN: Saturday, 10:10 a.m., Target Field. STREAKS: Mariners W 2; Twins L 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
The last time we saw Aaron Harang, May 27 at Safeco Field, he delivered an unexpected, almost out-of-body performance against the San Diego Padres, throwing his first complete game and first shutout since 2009, when he pitched for the Cincinnati Reds.
Harang had been pretty much abysmal before that, but his eight-strikeout, two-walk effort against the Padres kindled hope in the Mariner cognoscenti that better days await the back end of Seattle’s rotation.
We’ll see. Harang doesn’t have much of a history against the Twins, in fact an 0-0, 3.00 ERA record in just two games, and has never thrown a ball at Target Field. But he has a chance to provide the Mariners with their fifth win in seven outings since an eight-game losing streak when Seattle takes on Minnesota in the second of three Saturday.
The Mariners picked up the first one, 3-0 Friday, on the strength of another outstanding start by Hisashi Iwakuma, who recorded his American League-leading 10th quality start — no runs, seven hits, five strikeouts, two walks in 7.2 innings.
Harang will oppose Kevin Correia, who has not pitched against the Mariners since 2010 when he played for San Diego. A closer look:
MARINERS: RHP Aaron Harang (2-5, 6.51 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)
The 35-year-old Harang, a San Diego native in his 12th major league season and first with Seattle, will make his eighth start and first against the Twins. Harang was on the verge of losing his spot in Seattle’s rotation until his last start, in which he threw his first complete game since 2009 when he pitched for Cincinnati. Harang has only faced the Twins twice in his career, and not since May 28, 2003.
- LAST START: May 27 at Safeco Field, defeated San Diego 9-0; 4 hits in 9.0 innings; 8 strikeouts, 2 walks, 122 pitches, 80 for strikes.
- LAST VS. TWINS: May 28, 2003, pitching for Oakland, took a no-decision in a 6-5 loss; 0 earned runs on 1 hit in 4.0 innings; 2 strikeouts, 2 walks, 0 home runs, 48 pitches, 28 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. TWINS: 0-0, 3.00 ERA in 2 games, including one start, covering 9.0 innings; 3 strikeouts, 3 walks, 0 home runs, 1.44 WHIP.
- AT TARGET FIELD: Never pitched.
- LOVES/HATES TO FACE: Harang has faced just three members of the current Minnesota roster. Ryan Doumit has had the most success, going 10-for-29, .345.
- CURRENT TWINS VS. HARANG: 18-for-61, .295 BA, 12 strikeouts, 4 walks, 4 home runs, .338 on-base percentage.
TWINS: RHP Kevin Correia (5-4, 3.96 ERA in 1.30 WHIP)
The 32-year-old Correia, in his 11th major league season and first with Minnesota, will make his 11th start and first against the Mariners. Correia, who spent most of his career pitching in the National League, has allowed three or fewer earned runs in five of his starts. He had a three-start winning streak from April 5-28 and has split his last four outings, sandwiching wins at Boston and Milwaukee around losses to the White Sox and Braves.
- LAST START: May 27 at Milwaukee, won 6-3; 3 earned runs on 7 hits in 6.0 innings; 4 strikeouts, 1 walk, 3 home runs, 82 pitches, 52 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: June 11, 2010, pitching for San Diego, took a no-decision in a 4-3 win; 3 earned runs on 8 hits in 6.0 innings; 5 strikeouts, 0 walks, 1 home run, 100 pitches, 68 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 0-1, 4.30 ERA in three games, including two starts, covering 14.2 innings; 10 strikeouts, 1 walk, 4 home runs, 0.88 WHIP.
- AT TARGET FIELD: 3-1, 2.50 ERA in 5 starts covering 36.0 innings; 16 strikeouts, five walks, 4 home runs, 1.11 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Endy Chavez (0-for-2, .000), Jason Bay (1-for-5, .200), Brendan Ryan (1-for-5, .200).
- HATES TO FACE: Michael Morse (3-for-4, .750), Raul Ibanez (4-for-7, .571).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. CORREIA: 13-for-35, .371 BA, 10 strikeouts, 2 walks, 3 home runs, .395 on-base percentage.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT ROAD TRIP: Two at San Diego (Wednesday-Thursday) and three at Minnesota (Friday-Sunday). The Mariners are amid 20 games in 20 days with their next day off June 13.
- Hisashi Iwakuma, who improved his season record to 6-1, lowered his ERA from 2.35 to 2.13. He entered the game ranked No. 3 in the American League in ERA. Iwakuma went 4-0 with a 2.53 ERA in May.
- Kendrys Morales’ home run in the third inning Friday was his eighth of the season. Morales has batted .417 over his past 11 games and .343 over the past month.
- Tom Wilhelmsen’s save Friday, his 12th of the season, was his first since May 16 and followed two blown saves.
- Manager Eric Wedge said Friday that veteran Jeremy Bonderman will be recalled from AAA Tacoma to make a start against the Twins in the finale of the three-game series Sunday. Bonderman, 30, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2010, when he went 8-10 with a 5.53 ERA for the Tigers. He’s since undergone shoulder and elbow surgeries and was out of baseball for two years before signing a minor league deal with the Mariners. The Kennewick, WA., native went 2-4 with a 4.52 ERA in 11 starts for Tacoma. He will take the roster spot that opened up when rookie Brandon Maurer was sent down earlier this week.
- Injured outfielder Michael Morse (strained quadriceps) rejoined the team Friday, but may not be able to play until the club returns to Seattle for 10 games, starting Monday against the Chicago White Sox.
- Robert Andino cleared waivers Friday and has accepted an outright assignment to AAA Tacoma.
||RHP Aaron Harang (2-5) vs. RHP Kevin Correia (5-4)
||Jeremy Bonderman (0-0) vs. LHP Scott Diamond (3-4)
||LHP Joe Saunders (3-5) vs. LHP John Danks (0-0)
||RHP Felix Hernandez (6-4) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (6-2)
||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (5-1) vs. RHP Dylan Axelrod (3-3)