Michael Saunders, who has a 10-game hitting streak, and the Mariners have won a season-high six games in a row (two sweeps) and will begin a three-game series with Cleveland Monday night at Safeco Field. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest
GAME: Indians (52-46, 2nd, AL Central, -1.5 GB) at Mariners (46-52, 4th, AL West, -11.0 GB). GAME #: 99. SERIES: 1st of 3 games. MEETING: 5th (Indians lead 4-0). WHEN: Monday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners W 6; Indians W 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
The Mariners have put together a significant (for them) run lately, winning six in a row (consecutive series sweeps) to move within six games of .500 for the first time since May 21. Given the current offensive splurge, when the Mariners look back on 2013 they are bound to rue many missed opportunities, particularly a stretch from May 17-25, when they lost eight consecutive games, including three by walk-off in a four-day span.
Cleveland administered those forehead-slappers as part of a four-game, Lake Erie series sweep. The Mariners then lost a pair in Anaheim to the Angels and three of four to Texas at Safeco Field, falling 12 games out of the division lead. They still haven’t recovered in terms of the AL West race, sitting 11 games out despite the win streak, as they get set for a seven-game home stand, starting with the Indians Monday.
But the offense has recovered. The Mariners scored 26 runs in the Houston series and are getting production throughout the lineup (even if it came at the expense of the lowly Astros). Now that the offense appears on track, Aaron Harang needs to follow suit.
Harang will make his 16th start Monday. He’s had two complete-game wins but a half dozen clinkers, including his last start when Boston battered him out of the ball game. Harang will oppose Ubaldo Jimenez, who fanned nine the last time he saw the Mariners. A closer look:
MARINERS: Aaron Harang (4-8, 5.38 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 16th start and first against Cleveland. The erratic Harang has been on a good outing-bad outing roller coaster since mid-June and has recorded only two victories since May 27. Harang had one of his worst outings in his last start, when he allowed seven earned runs in 5.0 innings in a loss to the Red Sox.
- LAST START: July 10, lost to Boston 11-4; 7 earned runs on 8 hits in 5.0 innings; 0 strikeouts, 3 walks, 1 home run, 93 pitches, 58 for strikes.
- LAST VS. INDIANS: June 25, 2010, won 10-3; 3 earned runs on 8 hits in 7.0 innings; 2 strikeouts, 5 walks, 2 home runs, 108 pitches, 63 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. INDIANS: 4-2, 2.95 ERA in 10 starts covering 64.0 innings; 48 strikeouts, 20 walks, 6 home runs, 1.32 WHIP.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 4-5, 3.72 ERA in 12 career starts covering 72.2 innings; 54 strikeouts, 16 walks, 7 home runs, 1.00 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Asdrubal Cabrera (0-for-3, .000), Drew Stubbs (0-for-3, .000), Mark Reynolds (2-for-12, .167).
- HATES TO FACE: Michael Bourn (10-for-29, .345), Carlos Santana (1-for-3, .333).
- CURRENT INDIANS VS. HARANG: 13-for-50, .260 BA, 10 strikeouts, 4 walks, 3 home runs, .339 on-base percentage.
INDIANS: Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4, 4.56 ERA, 1.49 WHIP)
The 29-year-old Jimenez, a Dominican in his eighth major league season and third with Cleveland, will make his 20th start and second against Seattle. Jimenez has recorded just two decisions in his past six outings, both wins. He has a habit of short outings: he has pitched into the seventh inning just three times.
- LAST START: July 14 vs. Kansas City, took a no-decision in Cleveland’s 6-4 win; 4 earned runs on 8 hits in 4.0 innings; 2 strikeouts, 2 walks, 0 home runs, 76 pitches, 48 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: May 17 at Cleveland, took a no-decision in the Indians’ 6-3 win; 2 earned runs on 7 hits in 5.0 innings; 9 strikeouts, 2 walks, 1 home runs, 98 pitches, 59 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 2-0, 4.21 ERA in 4 starts covering 25.2 innings; 24 strikeouts, 9 strikeouts, 5 home runs, 1.36 WHIP.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 0-0, 4.76 ERA in 1 start covering 5.2 innings; 8 strikeouts, 0 walks, 1 home run, 1.23 WHIP.
- LOVES TO FACE: Justin Smoak (1-for-9, .111), Raul Ibanez (1-for-6, .167), Brendan Ryan (2-for-13, .154).
- HATES TO FACE: Dustin Ackley (5-for-9, .556), Michael Saunders (4-for-8, .500), Jason Bay (2-for-6, .333).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. JIIMENEZ: 23-for-90, .256 BA, 28 strikeouts, 10 walks, 3 home runs, .337 on-base percentage.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT HOME STAND: Three vs. Cleveland (Monday-Wednesday), four vs. Minnesota (Friday-Monday). Then the Mariners have an off day Monday, July 29 before a six-game road trip to Boston and Baltimore.
- In addition to winning a season-high six straight, the Mariners have won 11 of 16 and are 19-15 over their past 34.
- The 12 runs scored by Seattle Sunday matched a season high, set May 15 at New York in a 12-2 win over the Yankees. Seven runs in the second inning also matched a season one-frame high, set in the same May 15 game.
- With his win Sunday, Felix Hernandez improved to 11-4 and reduced his ERA to an American League-best 2.43. He has won five consecutive decisions.
- The grand slam by rookie Nick Franklin Sunday to start a seven-run second inning was the first of his career and the first by a Mariner since Henry Blanco ripped one at Oakland June 15. The Mariners lead the majors with six.
- Michael Saunders extended his hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI double in the eighth.
- Eric Wedge told mariners.com that he is not anticipating any trades before the July 31 deadline. “Unless it’s something that raises the bar, I don’t think we’re going to do anything. We’re not going to move somebody just to move somebody,” Wedge said. The Mariners have several veterans on one-year deals, including Oliver Perez, Raul Ibanez, Kendrys Morales, Brendan Ryan and Joe Saunders.
- When the Mariners defeated Houston 4-2 Saturday while recording only one hit, it marked the fourth time in major league history that a team scored four or more runs in a game in which it had no more than one hit. It also happened Aug. 28, 1909, when the White Sox defeated the Senators, 6-4, on one hit; April 30, 1914, when the White Sox dropped a 5-4 decision at Detroit with one hit; and July 1, 1990, when the White Sox beat the Yankees 4-0 in a game in which they had no hits but scored four unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth off Andy Hawkins.
||RHP Aaron Harang (4-8) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4)
||RHP Erasmo Ramirez (0-0) vs. RHP Zach McAllister 4-5)
||LHP Joe Saunders (9-8) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (5-4)
||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (9-4) vs. RHP Keven Correia (7-6)
||RHP Felix Hernandez (11-4) vs. TBA