The Mariners get another series against Adrian Beltre, who’s been a huge success everywhere he’s played but Seattle. He’s hitting .353 against the Mariners this year.
GAME: Mariners (55-56, 3rd, AL West, -13.0 GB) at Rangers (70-51, 1st, AL West, +1.5 GA). GAME #: 121. SERIES: 1st of 3 games. MEETING: 14th (Rangers lead 8-5). WHEN: Friday, 5:05 p.m., Rangers Ballpark. STREAKS: Mariners L 2; Rangers W 1. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Based on the year he had with the L.A. Dodgers — .334 BA, 48 home runs, 121 RBIs — before signing a five-year, $64 million deal with the Mariners, Adrian Beltre’s time in Seattle (2005-09) was rather a disappointment. Although he played a flawless third base, his power numbers were never there. A lasting image of him at the plate was Beltre corkscrewing himself into the batter’s box as he tried to blast the ball over the Columbia Center.
Beltre signed with Boston as a free agent in 2010 and it was the best thing he ever did for his career. In fact, of all the ex-Mariners who have gone on to All-Star careers elsewhere, and the numbers are legion, none — at least no hitter — has done it better than Beltre.
He never made an All-Star team while in Seattle. He’s been a three-time honoree since, once with Boston, twice with Texas. In five Seattle seasons, he hit 103 home runs. He’s knocked 121 in less than four since. Beltre never drove in more than 99 runs in a season with the Mariners, but he’s driven in 100 or more three times since and is working on a fourth.
Beltre was a .266 hitter for the Mariners. He’s been a .320 hitter since, and his 153 base hits currently lead the American League. A more pressing concern for the Mariners is that he feasts on Hisashi Iwakuma, whom he’ll see Friday night when Seattle travels to Texas.
Beltre is a .353 hitter against Iwakuma and a Mariner wrecker generally, batting .333 in the first 13 games of this season’s series.
It’s asking a lot of Iwakuma to snap his two-game losing streak against home-run-happy Texas, but that’s his task Friday. He’ll oppose LHP Derek Holland, always tough on Seattle with an 8-2, 3.36 career mark in 15 games.
Series heads up: Texas has won nine of his last 10 games, Iwakuma is winless (0-2) in his career at Rangers Ballpark and Felix Hernandez, who pitches Saturday, is 12-18 lifetime against the Rangers, including 0-2 in three starts this season.
MARINERS: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (10-6, 2.96 ERA, 0.99 WHIP)
The 32-year-old Iwakuma, a Tokyo native in his second major league season, both with Seattle, will make his 26th start and fourth against the Rangers. Iwakuma is 1-1, 3.05 in three starts against the Rangers this season with 16 strikeouts vs. two walks. The Rangers have tagged him for four home runs. Iwakuma has lost his last two outings and hasn’t won since July 25 vs. Minnesota. He tweaked his back against Milwaukee on a fielding play and gave the Brewers six hits on his next 12 pitches.
RANGERS: LHP Derek Holland (9-6, 3.07 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)
The 26-year-old Holland, a Newark, OH., native in his fifth major league season, all with Texas, will make his 25th start and third against the Mariners. Holland is 8-2 with a 3.36 ERA in 11 starts and four relief appearances against the Mariners in his career. That’s his most victories against any one club. He is 1-2 with a 3.06 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|8/16||Fri||at Tex||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (10-6) vs. LHP Derek Holland (9-6)|
|8/17||Sat||at Tex||RHP Felix Hernandez (12-5) vs. LHP Martin Perez (5-3)|
|8/18||Sun||at Tex||RHP Erasmo Ramirez (4-0) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (12-5)|
|8/19||Mon||at Oak||RHP Aaron Harang (5-10) vs. RHP Jarrod Parker (8-6)|
|8/20||Tue||at Oak||LHP Joe Saunders (10-12) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (0-1)|
|8/21||Wed||at Oak||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (10-6) vs. RHP A.J. Griffin (10-8)|