No starter has enjoyed the Mariners’ uptick in home runs more than Joe Saunders, who Tuesday pitches against the A’s, against whom he has done fairly well.
GAME: Mariners (57-67, 3rd, AL West, -14.5 GB) at Athletics (71-53, 2nd, AL West, -0.5 GB). GAME #: 125. SERIES: 2nd of 3 games. MEETING: 15th (Mariners lead 8-6). WHEN: Tuesday, 7:05 p.m., O.Com Coliseum. STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Athletics W 2. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
With 147 home runs in 124 games (none in a 2-1 loss to Oakland Monday night), the Mariners rank fourth in the major leagues in long balls and need two more to match the season total from last season (149). The Mariners also lead the majors in percent of runs scored via the home run — 494 runs, 231 as a result of homers, or 46.7 percent.
The Mariners have 29 homers in starts made by Joe Saunders, but Saunders is still sitting on a losing record (10-12) in part due to his unsightly 5.60 ERA in 14 road starts, in part due to the fact that he has a 7.28 ERA over his past six outings while averaging fewer than 5.0 innings per start.
But for Saunders, who will pitch the second game of a three-game series Tuesday night at O.com Coliseum, there’s always Oakland. Saunders has 88 wins in his nine-year major league career, 15 of them against the Athletics. Even Felix Hernandez hasn’t defeated Oakland more times.
Saunders’ 15 victories against the As are nearly twice as many as he has posted against any other team — eight against Seattle — which sustained its 10th walk-off loss of the season Tuesday when Brandon Moss took Carter Capps deep in the ninth inning, giving the Athletics a 2-1 victory.
The Mariners, who fell to 3-4 on the nine-game road trip, face rookie right hander Sonny Gray. Gray will be making his career debut against Seattle.
“He throws the ball outstanding, and he’s a very exciting arm,” catcher Derek Norris told mariners.com. “I’m looking forward to catching him several hundred times.”
MARINERS: LHP Joe Saunders (10-12, 4.86 ERA, 1.54 WHIP)
The 32-year-old Saunders, a Fairfax, VA., native in his ninth major league season and first with Seattle, will make his 26th start and fourth against the Athletics. Saunders is 1-4 with a 7.77 ERA over his last five starts, failing to get beyond the fifth inning in three of those. But he has beaten the A’s in two of three meetings this year and is 15-6 with a 3.36 ERA in 23 career games against he A’s during his career.
RANGERS: RHP Sonny Gray (1-1, 1.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP)
The 23-year-old Gray, a Nashville native in his first major league season, will make his third start and first against the Mariners. Gray earned his first major league win in his second career start, striking out nine batters in eight innings and yielding a lone walk. The rookie has struck out 20 batters in 18 innings over four appearances.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|8/20||Tue||at Oak||LHP Joe Saunders (10-12) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (1-1)|
|8/21||Wed||at Oak||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (11-6) vs. RHP A.J. Griffin (10-8)|
|8/23||Fri||vs. LAA||RHP Felix Hernandez (12-6) vs. TBA|
|8/24||Sat||vs. LAA||RHP Erasmo Ramirez (4-0) vs. TBA|
|8/25||Sun||vs. LAA||RHP Aaron Harang (5-10) vs. TBA|