Ex-Mariner Erik Bedard will try to hold the Mariners homer-less — the last 23 opponent mound staffs have felt to do so — Saturday in Houston.
GAME: Mariners (44-52, 4th, AL West, -12.0 GB) at Astros (33-62, 5th, AL West, -22.5 GB). GAME #: 97. SERIES: 2nd of 3 games. MEETING: 11th (series tied 5-5). WHEN: Saturday, 4:10 p.m., Minute Maid Park. STREAKS: Mariners W 4; Astros L 3. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
When they made the now-obvious blunder of swapping OF Adam Jones to the Baltimore Orioles Feb. 8, 2008 in a package of players for Erik Bedard, the Mariners thought they were acquiring one of the premier left handers in the American League (28 wins over the previous two years).
But Bedard, for a litany of reasons, mainly injury-related, never really panned out in Seattle. In 46 starts between 2008-11, Bedard went 15-14 with a 3.31 ERA. He hasn’t fared much better since, going 11-22 combined for Boston, Pittsburgh and Houston.
This is a good example of Bedard’s bad luck: On April 9, pitching against the Mariners at Safeco Field, Bedard had a 13-0 lead and failed to collect the win in what became a 16-9 Houston romp. He threw 66 pitches through four, allowing just one hit, but manager Bo Porter didn’t want to over-extend the fragile Bedard and yanked him.
Bedard gets another crack at the Mariners Saturday night when Seattle and Houston play the second of three at Minute Maid Park. The game doesn’t figure to be as high-scoring as the offensive eruption Friday, when Seattle, with four homers, including a pair by rookie Brad Miller, won 10-7, offsetting a 5-for-5 cycle by Houston’s Brandon Barnes.
Hisashi Iwakuma, despite struggling in five of his past six outings (he won the last one), still leads the majors in WHIP (0.93) and will get the start for the Mariners. Bedard rarely gets shelled, despite tepid results. A closer look:
MARINERS: LHP RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (8-4, 3.02 ERA, 0.93 WHIP)
Iwakuma, a 32-year-old Tokyo native in his second major league season, both with Seattle, will make his 21st start and third against the Astros. Iwakuma sustained a 3-2 loss to Houston April 23 and came back with a 3-2 win over the Astros June 10. In his last start, Iwakuma snapped a five-game slump by topping the Angels for his first win since that win over Houston June 10. Iwakuma made his first MLB All-Star team, but wasn’t eligible to pitch after throwing in the final game before the break.
ASTROS: Erik Bedard (3-6, 4.61 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)
The 34-year-old Bedard, an Ontario native in his 10th major league season and first with Houston, will make his 18th start and second against Seattle, a team for which Bedard pitched from 2008-11. Bedard dropped three in a row following a two-game winning streak, but pitched well enough in his last outing, at Tampa Bay, to win. He just didn’t receive support as the Astros lost 5-0, starting their All-Star break a day early.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|7/20||Sat||at Hou||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (8-4) vs. LHP Erik Bedard (3-6)|
|7/21||Sun||at Hou||RHP Felix Hernandez (10-4) vs. RHP Jordan Lyles (4-3)|
|7/22||Mon||vs. Clev||RHP Aaron Harang (4-8) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4)|
|7/23||Tue||vs. Clev||RHP Erasmo Ramirez (0-0) vs. TBA|
|7/24||Wed||vs. Clev||LHP Joe Saunders (9-8) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (5-4)|