BY SPNW Staff 06:55AM 06/13/2013

Mariners Off After Meltdown, Face A’s Friday

The Mariners went 5-5 on the homestand and will send two of their best pitchers, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, to the mound in Oakland.

Nick Franklin and the Mariners ended a 10-game home stand Wednesday and will begin a three-game series with the Oakland A’s at O.com Stadium Friday. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Leading 1-0 heading into the ninth Wednesday, the Mariners seemed poised to complete their first three-game winning streak since August, 2012. But then Houston scored six times for a 6-1 win, collecting its most runs in a game after being held scoreless through the first eight since April 8, 1988, when the Astros tallied eight times in a 16-inning game against the Reds. Only the Mariners could be on the wrong end of a stat like that.

The Mariners and their dwindling fan base need a day off, and they have one Thursday — their first in 20 days — before a three-game series at division leader Oakland Friday night. That will be followed by four against the Angels in Anaheim

After losing three out of four to the Yankees and botching a sweep opportunity against Houston, the Mariners head to the Bay Area with  29-38 record and 11 games behind Oakland in the AL West. Last year after 67 games, the Mariners stood 28-39, an improvement of one game.

MARINERS STATS / NOTES

  • The six runs the Mariners allowed in the ninth inning Wednesday marked the most yielded in that frame by a Seattle club since allowing nine in the top of the ninth to Baltimore April 23, 2006.
  • Jeremy Bonderman, who held the Astros scoreless for eight innings, has not allowed a run in his past 13 innings.
  • Catcher Mike Zunino, called up from AAA Tacoma, made his major league debut Wednesday and recorded his first hit, a single, in the fourth inning.
  • Zunino is the third catcher to make his major league debut with Seattle in the last 20 days, joining Jesus Sucre (disabled list) and Brandon Bantz (designated for assignment).
  • Nine pitchers, including Houston’s Jordan Lyles Wednesday, have struck out 10 Mariners in a game this season.
  • Nick Franklin hit .333 on the home stand, going 11-for-33 with three runs scored, two RBIs and four walks.
  • Endy Chavez, who extended his hitting streak to four games, has hit safely in nine of his past 10, batting .324 over the stretch.
  • Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen has four blown saves in his past nine chances.

FRIDAY’S PROBABLES

MARINERS: LHP Joe Saunders (4-6, 5.12 ERA, 1.47 WHIP)

The 31-year-old Saunders, a Springfield, VA., native in his ninth major league season and first with Seattle, will make his 14th start and third against the Athletics. Saunders has yet to get anything good going on the road, where he’s 0-4, 9.00 ERA in six starts (vs. 4-2, 2.53 at Safeco Field). In two starts against the Athletics, Saunders is 1-1, 4.35 with nine strikeouts, seven walks and an unflattering 1.83 WHIP.

ATHLETICS: LHP Tommy Milone (6-5, 3.69 ERA, 1.16 WHIP)

The 26-year-old Milone, a native of Saugus, CA., in his third major league season and second with Oakland, will make his 14th start and third against the Mariners. Milone, who is 1-1 against Seattle this year, has won his past three decisions. He pitched his best game May 7 by throwing 7.0 scoreless innings in a 4-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians. Milone began his MLB career with the Washington Nationals, who selected him in the 10th round of the 2008 amateur draft.

SATURDAY’S PROBABLES

MARINERS: RHP Felix Hernandez (7-4, 2.49 ERA, 1.04 WHIP)

The 27-year-old Hernandez, in his ninth major league season, all with Seattle, will make his 15th start and second against the Athletics. Hernandez has won his last two decisions, took a no-decision in his last outing and hasn’t lost since May 25. He beat the A’s  on Opening Day 2-0 and has an outstanding record at the Coliseum, 7-2 with a 2.96 ERA in 14 starts.

ATHLETICS: RHP A.J. Griffin (5-5, 3.78 ERA, 1.14 WHIP)

The 25-year-old Griffin, in his second major league season, both with Oakland, will make his 14th start and second against the Mariners (defeated Seattle 8-2 April 4). Although Griffin has five victories, he’s coming off two losses and a no-decision. Griffin had his best outing May 3 when he defeated the Yankees 2-0, allowing six hits over 7 innings. The Athletics selected Griffin in the 13th round of the 2010 amateur draft.

SUNDAY’S PROBABLES

MARINERS: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (7-1, 1.79 ERA, 0.81 WHIP)

The 32-year-old Iwakuma, a Tokyo native in his second major league season, both with Seattle, will make his 15th start and third against the Athletics. Iwakuma, bidding for his first American League All-Star appearance, already defeated the Athletics twice, has won five consecutive decisions, and is the MLB leader in WAR for pitchers (4.0) and WHIP (0.81). He also ranks second in ERA (1.79). Iwakuma is coming off a 3-2 win over the Houston Astros June 10.

ATHLETICS: RHP Bartolo Colon (8-2, .401 ERA, 1.09 WHIP)

The 40-year-old Colon, a Dominican native in his 16th major league season and third with Oakland, will make his 14th start and first against the Mariners. A career 179-game winner, Colon missed most of last season due to a drug suspension, but has returned this year with one of the best starts to a season in his career. He has a five-game winning streak during which he has allowed only three earned runs. Colon has 16 wins against the Mariners, three shy of the 19 he has against Texas.


YourThoughts

  • Leon Russell

    Why aren’t they pitching Felix Friday on four days’ rest, then Iwakuma Saturday on 4 days’ rest, and just skip Saunders? This is just ridiculous to have everyone pitch on five days’ rest, instead of skipping their number 5 starter for one turn. That is one advantage of having days off — it sometimes allows you to skip your worst starter. This is a perfect situation for that. Wedge seems incapable of figuring this out.

  • MarkS

    Way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory Ms.

  • maqman

    The A’s have shown that last season was no aberration. They look like the best team in the division to me. Even with Felix and Kuma throwing they are going to be tough, they have a better offense at this point in the season. It will probably still be better when our’s comes off of the DL or out of the trainers room, but at least then Felix and Kuma will have a shot.

  • Family_Man

    Dwindling Fan Base? I think at this point it’s not getting any smaller. Those of us that are left are Delusional Die Hards that aren’t going anywhere. It was hard to watch last night, but I did, and I will tomorrow too.
    Let us not forget – we did win the series.