After a surprising series loss to the Houston Astros in which Seattle Mariner pitching surrendered 24 runs in the two losses, the Mariners bounced back to earn a split with the Texas Rangers in a four game set. Mariner fans were treated to more of the pitching they were used to as the Mariners limited Texas to 11 runs in four games. Seattle will now look to end their ten game home stand on a high note welcoming in the Detroit Tigers for three games.
Iwakuma Tops Yu Darvish. After dropping the series opener with Felix Hernandez on the mound for their third straight loss, the Mariners turned to Hisashi Iwakuma to snap the slide. Iwakuma topped his fellow countryman Darvish, handing Yu his first loss of the season. Hisashi got three first inning runs highlighted by a two RBI Kyle Seager double and made it stand up in Friday’s 3-1 victory. He went 6.2 innings allowing three hits and one run (a solo shot from Ian Kinsler in the fourth inning) while striking out six. Iwakuma ran his mark to 2-0 on the season with a 2.18 ERA. He only had the team ERA lead, though, for one day as Joe Saunders dropped his ERA to 2.08 by throwing seven innings Saturday and give up no earned runs (one run overall).
Tough Saturday, Bounce Back Sunday. As I briefly touched on, Joe Saunders had a monster game Saturday against the Rangers allowing only three hits in seven innings, but left the game tied at 1. The Rangers, sparked by a controversial walk to Craig Gentry, rallied for two runs off Carter Capps in the 8th inning to take it 3-1. Seattle turned to some struggling bats to bounce back on Sunday. Raul Ibanez went 2-for-4 and hit his second home run, and Dustin Ackley provided what turned out to be the GW RBI in the 6th inning to give Seattle a 4-3 win to earn the split. Brandon Maurer, who didn’t escape the first inning in his last start, went six innings allowing five hits and three runs – two earned. He earned the first win of his major league career and dropped his ERA to 9.95.
More Roster Shake-ups. Unhappy with the back end of the rotation, Seattle made an early season trade obtaining Aaron Harang from Colorado. Minor leaguer Steven Hensley (2012 combined AA/AAA 4-6, 4.84, 39 BB, 58 SO, 70.2 IP) was sent to Colorado. Harang will take Blake Beavan’s spot in the rotation. Beavan, the No. 5 coming out of Spring, went 0-1 with a 8.44 ERA in two starts and will be in long relief, for the time being. Michael Saunders was put on the 15-day DL from an injury he obtained in the Houston series after crashing into a wall, and he was joined today by reliever Stephen Pryor (0.00 ERA in 7.1 IP, 7 SO) who has a tear in his right latissimus dorsi muscle. Endy Chavez was called up for his second stint with the Mariners to replace Saunders and saw immediate playing time with day-to-day injuries plaguing Gutierrez (groin) and Morse (finger). Seattle hopes to have both back for tonight’s game vs. the Tigers. Kameron Loe (1-1, 10.80, 6 HR in 6.2 IP) was designated for assignment to make room for Harang on the 40-man roster, and he was claimed by the Chicago Cubs today.
First Visit From the Tigers. The Tigers come into town and Seattle may be facing their three best starting pitchers: Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, and Justin Verlander. It should be a good pitching series all the way around as the Mariners counter with Aaron Harang before going back to the top of the rotation with Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. Seattle was an impressive 5-1 vs. the Tigers last year. The Tigers come to Seattle with a record of 7-5, good enough for first after two weeks in the A.L. Central. Detroit is in the middle of a nine-game West Coast road swing having took two out of three games from their first opponent, the Oakland A’s.