After an uncharacteristic meltdown by Felix Hernandez Thursday, the Mariners return to Safeco Field Friday to face M’s killer Colon. May not need weirdness to lose that one.
GAME: Athletics (43-32, 1st, AL West, 1.0 GA) at Mariners (32-42, 4th, AL West, -10.5 GB). GAME #: 75. SERIES: 1st of 3 games. MEETING: 11th (Mariners lead 6-4). WHEN: Friday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 2; Athletics L 2. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Five days ago at O.com Coliseum in Oakland, 40-year-old Bartolo Colon outdueled an out-of-sorts Hisashi Iwakuma to record his ninth victory of the season (2.89 ERA) and the 17th of his career at the expense of the Mariners. Colon is old enough to have made two, early-career starts in the old Kingdome (0-2, whopping 19.29 ERA), but it’s at Safeco Field where he has really been at his best.
Colon has pitched in 37 major league parks since he broke in with Cleveland in 1997. His .909 winning percentage at Safeco — 10-1 record over 12 starts — is by far his best at any “green cathedral” in which he has made at least four starts. So is his 1.91 ERA. Not good news for a club as offensively challenged as Seattle.
Even when the Mariners have an occasional breakout game with their bats, things tend to go haywire. Friday night, the Mariners handed Felix Hernandez 7-0 and 8-1 leads and The King couldn’t close the deal. The Angels rocked him for seven runs after he had a 7-0 lead and Seattle fell 10-9, botching a shot to come away from the four-game series with a split.
The first seven Angels batters who faced Hernandez in the fifth all reached (five singles and two homers), marking the first time in Hernandez’s career that he allowed hits to seven consecutive hitters. It also marked only the second time Hernandez failed to get a victory after being given a lead of more than five runs.
On May 15, 2007, Hernandez had a 9-1 lead, also against the Angels, and came away with a no-decision, departing after 3.2 innings.
“It’s a tough game from an emotional standpoint,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “You take that big lead and do a lot of good things, and then you give it back. I was proud that we fought back and scored a run and took the lead back, but they fought right back, too. That’s why you play for nine innings, man. The bullpen just didn’t quite get it done (Yoervis Medina walked in what proved to be the winning run in the eighth inning on four straight balls). Obviously, we had to go to them early.”
Just as Hernandez has had no luck with the Angels — he’s 7-12, 4.12 against L.A. in his career with four consecutive defeats at Angles Stadium — the Mariners have scant to show for their efforts against Colon.
Colon allowed the Mariners two earned runs on eight hits when he saw them last Sunday and didn’t need to work beyond 7.0 innings because the Athletics romped 10-2 with Iwakuma uncharacteristically dinged for four earned runs. Iwakuma goes again Friday and a good outing with virtually seal an appearance in the All-Star Game. He’ll need it, especially with Colon pitching. A closer look:
MARINERS: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (7-2, 2.06 ERA, 0.88 WHIP)
The 32-year-old Iwakuma, a Tokyo native in his second major league season, both with Seattle, will make his 16th start and fourth against the Athletics. Iwakuma allowed four runs in five innings to snap his streak of 31.1 innings without allowing an earned run the last time he faced the A’s. The five innings matched his shortest outing of the season, as he fell to 7-2 on what has otherwise been an All-Star-caliber season. Iwakuma is 2-1 with a 3.50 against Oakland this season covering 18.0 innings.
ANGELS: RHP Bartolo Colon (9-2, 2.89 ERA, 1.09 WHIP))
The 40-year-old Colon, a Dominican in his 16th major league season and second with Oakland, will make his 15th start and second against the Mariners. Colon, who defeated Seattle 10-2 in his last outing, will bring a six-game winning streak into Safeco Field. Colon is 5-2 with a 3.12 ERA on the road and 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA in three June starts.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|6/21||Fri||vs. Oak||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (7-2) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (9-2)|
|6/22||Sat||vs. Oak||RHP Aaron Harang (3-7) vs. RHP Dan Straily (4-2)|
|6/23||Sun||vs. Oak||RHP Jeremy Bonderman (1-1) vs. RHP Jarrod Parker (6-6)|