The Cubs will make their first visit to Safeco Field this weekend since the 2010 season when the Mariners captured a three-game series (2-1). Seattle is 4-5 all-time against Chicago.
GAME: Cubs (33-44, 4th, NL Central, -14.5 GB) at Mariners (34-45, 4th, AL West, -11.5 GB). GAME #: 80. SERIES: 1st of 3 games. MEETING: 1st (1st series since 2010). WHEN: Friday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners L 2; Cubs W 2. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Except for high payrolls and historic futility, the Seattle Mariners and New York Mets would not seem to have much in common. Except this year they do. When the Mariners lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 Wednesday, it marked the sixth time this season that they lost a home game that was tied entering the eighth inning. That tied the Mets for the most such losses in the majors.
If not for the relative novelty of hosting the Chicago Cubs, which the Mariners have not done since the 2010 season, the three-game series Friday through Sunday would not have much to recommend it. The Mariners are 11.5 games out of first place, playing out the string and hoping nobody will notice.
The Cubs are even more irrelevant in the NL Central, trailing Pittsburgh by 14.5 games.
Although Hisashi Iwakuma hasn’t been up to par in in his last two starts, he remains one of the game’s most fearsome pitchers at home. At Safeco Field this season, the right-hander, who has never faced the Cubs, has a 1.46 ERA and has struck out 52 batters with only three walks.
Iwakuma will oppose lefty Travis Wood. Wood has posted a quality start in 13 of his 14 outings, but doesn’t have much to show for it with a 5-6 record, although he ranks among the top 12 National League starters with a 2.85 ERA. Wood has never faced the Mariners, and is 2-3 with a 4.01 ERA in eight starts vs. American League teams.
MARINERS: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (7-3, 2.26, 0.85)
The 32-year-old Iwakuma, a Tokyo native in his second major league season, both with Seattle, will make his 17th start and first against the Cubs. Despite an uncharacteristically rough appearance Friday, Iwakuma is still one of the game’s most fearsome pitchers at home. At Safeco Field this season, the right-hander has a 1.46 ERA and has struck out 52 batters with only three walks.
CUBS: LHP Travis Wood (5-6, 2.85 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
The 26-year-old Wood, a native of Little Rock, AR., in his fourth major league season and second with the Cubs, will make his 16th start and first against the Mariners. Selected by Cincinnati in the second round of the 2005 amateur draft, Wood has three losses and a no-decision in his past four outings. He threw his best game May 13 vs. Colorado, allowing just two hits over 7.0 innings in a 9-1 victory.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|6/28||Fri||vs. Cubs||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (7-3) vs. LHP Travis Wood (5-6)|
|6/29||Sat||vs. Cubs||RHP Aaron Harang (3-7) vs. RHP Jeff Samardzija (5-7)|
|6/30||Sun||vs. Cubs||RHP Jeremy Bonderman (1-1) vs. RHP Edwin Jackson (3-10)|