Ichiro and the Yankees will arrive at Safeco Field Thursday for the start of a four-game series. This will be New York’s only appearance at Safeco Field this season.
GAME: Yankees (34-25, 2nd, AL East, -1.5 GB) at Mariners (26-34, 4th, AL West, -11.0 GB). GAME #: 61. SERIES: 1st of 4 games. MEETING: 4th (Mariners lead 2-1). WHEN: Thursday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Yankees W 3. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Aaron Harang has spent a dozen years knocking around major league baseball and enters Thursday still having never faced the New York Yankees. Harang almost saw them in mid-May when Seattle played a three-game set at Yankee Stadium, but was scratched from his scheduled start. That’s not expected to happen when the Mariners and Bronx Bombers hook up in the first of four at Safeco Field.
After a miserable start with Seattle, Harang is coming off a pair of nice starts, with one earned run allowed in his past 15 innings. He needs another extended start after the Mariners used up seven pitchers in an epic 7-5, 16-inning loss to the Chicago White Sox Wednesday.
The Mariners don’t have a lot of fresh arms in their bullpen after that marathon (only Tom Wilhelmsen didn’t pitch), so it will be incumbent on Harang to deliver a lengthy outing. He’ll face a Yankees team coming off a 6-4 win over Cleveland and second in the AL East, 1.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox.
The series marks former Mariner Ichiro’s first actual return to Safeco Field. The former Seattle icon was traded to New York late in July and played his first series with the Yankees, in town at the time, before he departed Seattle.
This will be Ichiro’s fourth series against Seattle since the trade. In nine games against his former team, Ichiro is hitting just .206 (7-for-34) with a .250 on-base percentage. For the Yankees this year, Ichiro is hitting .266. After a .247 May, Ichiro is hitting .333 in June.
Before looking at Thursday’s pitching probables, a few takeaways from the 16-inning game Wednesday:
MARINERS: RHP Aaron Harang (2-5, 5.82 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)
The 35-year-old Harang, a San Diego native in his 12th major league season and first with Seattle, will make his ninth start and first against the Yankees. Harang allowed just one earned run over his last 15 innings as he’s rebounded from a rough stretch with two quality starts.
LAST START: June at Minnesota, took a no-decision in Seattle’s 5-4 loss; 0 earned runs on 4 hits in 6.0 innings; 4 strikeouts, 2 walks, 0 home runs, 98 pitches, 62 for strikes.
YANKEES: RHP Phil Hughes (2-4, 5.37 ERA, 1.43 WHIP)
The 26-year-old Hughes, a Santa Ana, CA., native in his seventh major league season, all with New York, will make his 12th start and second against the Mariners. Hughes opened the season with two losses, had no-decisions in his next three, won two in a row and now has two more losses and two no-decisions in his last four. Hughes has allowed at five earned runs in a game four times and is coming off a poor outing against Boston.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|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)|
|6/9||Sun||vs. NYY||RHP Felix Hernandez (7-4) vs. RHP David Phelps (3-3)|
|6/10||Mon||vs. Hou||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (6-1) vs. LHP Dallas Keuchel (2-2)|
|6/11||Tue||vs. Hou||RHP Aaron Harang (2-5) vs. RHP Bud Norris (5-4)|
|6/12||Wed||vs. Hou||RHP Jeremy Bonderman (0-1) vs. RHP Jordan Lyles (3-1)|