An 7-4 winner over the White Sox Tuesday night, the Mariners will go for a sweep of their three-game series with Chicago Wednesday afternoon.
GAME: White Sox (24-32, 4th, AL Central, -7.0 GB) at Mariners (26-33, 4th, AL West, -10.0 GB). GAME #: 60. SERIES: 3rd of 3 games. MEETING: 6th (Mariners lead 3-2). WHEN: Wednesday, 12:40 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners W 2; White Sox L 8. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Anyone predicting in early April that Hisashi Iwakuma would out-pitch Felix Hernandez over the first two months of the season would have been a candidate for seizure in a butterfly net. But Iwakuma is not only putting up numbers that exceed Hernandez’s, he is out pitching most of the American League.
Entering Wednesday’s final of a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox, and with the Mariners seeking a rare sweep after Tuesday’s 7-4 win, Iwakuma is 6-1, an .857 win percentage that ranks third in the American League and sixth in the majors. His wins above replacement (WAR) of 3.4 s third in baseball and second in the AL. His ERA of 2.13 is fifth overall and second in the AL.
And Iwakuma’s WHIP — walks plus hits per innings pitched — is 0.87, best in the majors. Hernandez, who notched his seventh win Tuesday despite some early struggles, isn’t even in the top 10 on this list.
Iwakuma, just a guy out of Seattle’s bullpen one year ago, will make his 13th start of the season Wednesday when the Mariners go for a sweep. The Mariners have not won three straight since May 1-4, and the back-to-back wins Monday and Tuesday are the first for Seattle over Chicago since Sept. 16-17, 2009.
MARINERS: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (6-1, 2.13 ERA, 0.87 WHIP)
The 32-year-old Iwakuma, a Tokyo native in his second major league season, both with the Mariners, will make his 13th start and second against the White Sox. Iwakuma will bring a four-decision winning streak into Wednesday’s contest. He has five no-decisions, including one against the White Sox April 7 at U.S. Cellular Field.
WHITE SOX: RHP Dylan Axelrod (3-4, 4.04 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
The 27-year-old Axelrod, a Santa Barbara, CA., native in his third major league season, all with the White Sox, will make his 12th start and second against the Mariners. Axelrod had a three-game winning streak before dropping his last outing at Oakland. He’s pitched into the sixth inning eight times and had his most effective start against the Mariners April 6 when he did not allow an earned run in 5.2 innings.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|6/5||Wed||vs. CWS||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (6-1) vs. RHP Dylan Axelrod (3-3)|
|6/6||Thr||vs. NYY||RHP Aaron Harang (2-5) vs. RHP Phil Hughes (2-4)|
|6/7||Fri||vs. NYY||RHP Jeremy Bonderman (0-1) vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda (6-4)|
|6/8||Sat||vs. NYY||LHP Joe Saunders (4-5) vs. LHP Andy Pettitte (4-3)|
|6/10||Sun||vs. NYY||RHP Felix Hernandez (7-4) vs. RHP David Phelps (3-3)|