#27: Millwood's Job: Stop Mariners' Bloodletting


by Sportspress Northwest Staff


Posted on May 4, 2012 at 4:31 PM

GAME: Mariners (11-15, 3rd AL West, - 6.5 GB) at Rays (17-8, 1st AL East, 0-0 GB). GAME #: 27. SERIES: 4th of 4 games. MEETING (2012): 4th (Rays lead 3-0). WHEN: Thursday, 10:05 a.m., Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL. PROBABLE PITCHERS: RHP Kevin Millwood (0-2, 5.24) vs. RHP Jeff Niemann (1-3, 3.86). STREAKS: Mariners L 5; Rays W 4. TV: ROOT Sports, MLB TV. RADIO: KIRO 710 (Seattle), Mariners Radio Network.

Losers of a season-high five consecutive games, the Mariners conclude their four-game series with Tampa Bay Thursday before returning to Seattle for six games against the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers.

To stanch the bleeding, the Mariners turn to No. 5 starter Kevin Millwood, who has been less than reliable so far. Millwood will oppose one of the tallest pitchers in the majors, 6-foot-9 Jeff Niemann, who has yet to remind anyone of Randy Johnson. Thursday's duelists:MARINERS: RHP Kevin Millwood (0-2, 5.24 ERA, 1.161 WHIP)

The 37-year-old Millwood, in his 16th major league season and first with the Mariners, will be making his fifth start and his first against the Rays.

A native of Gastonia, NC., the 6-4, 230-pound Millwood was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 11th round of the 1993 amateur draft.

Millwood made his major league debut July 14, 1997, collecting a win in relief for the Braves against Philadelphia. During his career, Millwood pitched for the Braves (1997-02), Philadelphia (2003-04), Cleveland (2005), Texas (2006-09), Baltimore (2010) and Colorado (2011) before joining the Mariners.

Millwood twice won 18 games in a season, going 18-7 for the 1999 Braves and 18-8 for the 2002 Braves. Millwood led the National League in starts with 35 in 2000, led the NL in shutouts in 2003 with three, led the American League in ERA in 2005 at 2.86, and the AL in losses in 2010 with 16.

Millwood represented Atlanta in the 1999 All-Star Game.

During his American League career, Millwood made 24 starts against the Mariners, posting an 8-13 record with a 4.91 ERA.

Millwood signed with the Mariners Jan. 24 as a free agent, and earned the fifth spot in the rotation with a strong performance during spring training.

Millwood, who has coughed up leads in two of his past three starts and was beaten soundly in his last one, has a career record of 163-142, 4.11 ERA.

  • LAST START: April 28 at Toronto, absorbed a 7-0 defeat at the hands of Brandon Morrow and the Blue Jays; allowed one earned run on seven hits over 7.0 innings, struck out four and walked two; lost when Edwin Encarnacion belted a grand slam off Hisashi Iwakuma in the bottom of the eighth.
  • LAST VS. RAYS: Sept. 29 pitching for Baltimore,  a 2-0 victory over Tampa at Tropicana Field; allowed two hits over 7.0 innings, struck out seven and walked three (fourth win of season against 16 losses).
  • CAREER VS. RAYS: 3-3, 5.03 ERA in eight games, all starts, covering 48.1 innings; averages 8.0 K's per 9 innings; has allowed 10 home runs.
  • AT TROPICANA FIELD: 2-1 record with a 4.65 ERA in five starts; 31 strikeouts vs. 14 walks; has allowed five home runs.
  • LOVES TO FACE: Luke Scott (1-for-10, .100 BA, 5 K's), Matt Joyce (1-for-9, .111 BA, 3 K's); Jose Molina (1-for-9, .111 BA).
  • HATES TO FACE: Reid Brignac (2-for-4, .500 BA).
  • CURRENT RAYS VS. MILLWOOD: 19-for-92, .207 BA, 32 K's.
Millwood / 2012

  • April 11 (ND, 0-0): Allowed one earned run on four hits over 6 innings; a no-decision in a 4-3 Seattle victory over Texas; struck out seven, walked three; threw 103 pitches, 61 for strikes.
  • April 17 (ND, 0-0): Couldn’t hold an 8-1 lead, but took a no-decision after allowing seven runs on nine hits in four innings in Seattle’s 9-8 loss to Cleveland.
  • April 22 (L, 0-1): Shelled for the second consecutive starts (five earned runs in 6.0 IP) in a 7-4 loss to Cleveland at Safeco Field (first decision as a Mariner).
  • April 28 (L, 0-2): Lost 7-0 at Toronto despite allowing just one earned run on seven hits over 7.0 innings.
RAYS: RHP Jeff Niemann (1-3, 3.86 ERA, 1.10 WHIP)

The 29-year-old Niemann, in his fifth major league season, all with Tampa Bay, will be making his fifth start and first against the Mariners.

A native of Houston, 6-9, 285-pound Niemann was originally selected by the Rays in the first round (fourth pick) of the 2004 amateur draft.

He pitched in 77 minor league games in the Tampa system from 2005-11, splitting seasons from 2008-11 between the minors and majors. Niemann made his major league debut April 13, 2008 in a 6-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Niemann got the win, allowing one run over six innings.

After that 2008 debut, Niemann didn’t become a fixture in the Tampa rotation until 2009, when he went 13-6 with a 3.94 ERA. Niemann posted records of 12-8, 4.39 in 2010 and 11-7 4.06 in 2011.

Niemann, who pitched for Rice University, where he was a teammate of Philip Humber’s (he threw the perfect game against the Mariners), has a career record of 39-26, 4.15.

  • 2012: Collected his only win April 22 in a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins at Tropicana Field when he allowed two earned runs on three hits over 5.1 innings; has yet to pitch beyond 5.2 innings in any of his starts.
  • LAST START: April 28 at Texas, was the losing pitcher in Tampa’s 7-2 setback to the Rangers; gave up three earned runs on five hits in 5.2 innings; struck out four and walked three.
  • LAST VS. MARINERS: July 29 defeated Erik Bedard 8-0 at Safeco Field; did not allow an earned run in 6.2 innings; struck out 11, including Miguel Olivo and Justin Smoak three times each.
  • CAREER VS. MARINERS: 4-0, 2.87 in six starts covering 37.2 innings; averages 8.1 strikeouts per 9 innings; has walked only 13 of the 149 batters he’s faced; has allowed four home runs.
  • AT TROPICANA FIELD: 17-13, 3.90 ERA in 43 games, including 42 starts covering 254.0 innings; has allowed 33 home runs in the facility.
  • LOVES TO FACE: Justin Smoak (0-for-6, .000 BA, 4 K’s), Miguel Olivo {injured} (0-for-5, .000 BA, 3 K’s), Ichiro (4-for-18, .222 BA, 2 K’s).
  • HATES TO FACE: Chone Figgins (7-for-14, .500 BA, 3 RBIs), Dustin Ackley (1-for-2, .500 BA).
  • CURRENT MARINERS VS. NIEMANN: 17-for-74, .230 BA, 22 K’s.


TeamWLPct.GBHomeRoadLast 10Streak
Rangers178.660--8-59-35-5Lost 2
Athletics1313.5004.56-77-66-4Won 2
Mariners1115.4236.53-68-94-6Lost 5
Angels1015.4007.07-63-94-6Won 3

  • CURRENT TRIP: The Mariners have played nine games on their 10-day, 10-game road swing through Detroit, Toronto and Tampa. Seattle is 4-5, having won the first four and lost the last five.
  • MARINERS VS. RAYS: Mariners are32-28 all-time at Tropicana Field, but haven't won a series there since taking two of three games in 2008; Mariners haven't won at Tropicana Field since 2010, having dropped all three contests in 2011 by a margin of 19-8 and the firstthree this season . . . Tampa Bay has won the season series from Seattle in each of the past two seasons, 7-2 in 2010 and 6-4 in 2011 . . . Neither Seattle nor Tampa Bay has swept a four-game series from the other.
  • LATEST: Mariners started the trip going 15-for-46 with runners in scoring position. Since then, have gone2-for-36 . . . Mariners dropped slumping Justin Smoak to No. 7 in the batting order as the DH Wednesday. "I know he's going to get it done, but right now he's not getting it done," said manager Eric Wedge. "We're in the business of winning ball games so I had to make an adjustment." Smoak went 0-for-3 Wednesday and is hitting .184 . . . With his 0-for-3 Wednesday (3 K's), SS Brendan Ryan extended his hitless streak to 0-for-26. . . Chone Figgins is 0-for-14 (0-for-4 Wednesday) since hitting a leadoff homer April 29 . . . Jesus Montero's passed ball in the fourth inning Wednesday was the seventh of the season for the Mariners and a total that leads the AL (Olivo 4, Montero 3).
  • SERIES/STREAKS: Series Record: Won 3, split 0, lost 5; Sweeps: 1; Swept: 1. Longest Win Streak: 4 (April 24-27). Longest Losing Streak: 5 (April 19-22, April 28-May 2).
  • BATTING: Mariners rank eighth (AL) in runs (99), fourth in hits (215), seventh in triples (3) andeighthin home runs (25) . . . Rank 13th in batting average (.238),13th in on-base percentage (.289), 11th in slugging (.377) and 13th in OPS (.666) . . . batting 47-for-218 (.216) with runners in scoring position . . . out-homered 31-25 . . . left 162 men on base, opponents161. . .scored 99 runs, opponents 111. . . scored 60of 103 runs in the first four innings . . . batted around three times: April 7 at Oakland (4th inning), April 9 at Texas (1st), and April 17 vs. Cleveland (4th) . . .shut out four times (April 10 at Texas, April 13 vs Oakland, April 21 vs. Chicago, April 27 at Toronto).
  • BATTING EXT.: Jesus Montero and Miguel Olivo share Seattle's longest hitting streak: 8 games, Montero March 29-April 14, Olivo April 22 until he went on the disabled list May 1 . . . Mariners have recorded four bases-loaded walks (Kawasaki, Ryan, Montero, Smoak) . . . Kyle Seager's single in the fourth inning April 17 marked the 50,000th hit in Mariners' history, and Brendan Ryan's walk in the same frame scored Justin Smoak with the 25,000th run in franchise history . . . Montero's 13 RBIs in April were the most by a Mariners' rookie since 1986 . . . Three Mariners, Ichiro (March 28 vs. Oakland), Justin Smoak (April 17 vs. Cleveland) and Jesus Montero (May 1 at Tampa) have four-hit games in 2012.
  • PITCHING: Mariners rank ninth in ERA (4.16), ninth in hits allowed (214), 10th in runs allowed (111), 10th in home runs allowed (31), sixth in walks (70), sixth in strikeouts (179) . . . By pitching eight innings of one-run ball Monday, Felix Hernandez has 17 career no-decisions while throwing 7.0 or more innings and allowing one or fewer runs . . . Closer Brandon League has two blown saves after not blowing his first save of 2011 until May 10.
  • ICHIRO (2-for-4 Wednesday) has763 multi-hit games, which ranks fourth among active players, and No. 1 since his debut in 2001. Ichiro's 47 games with four or more hits leads all active players . . . Three-hit game April 30 marked the226th of his major league career . . . Since 2001, has recorded 99 outfield assists. Only Jeff Francouer, with 100, has more . . . With 96 career home runs, needs four to become the 12th Mariner with 100. Breakdown: 94 as a leadoff hitter, one batting second, one batting third.
  • ODDS/ENDS: Mariners do not have an off day until May 10, after which they will play 20 consecutive days, making for a 37-day stretch including 36 games . . . Mariners have three more bobblehead nights: May 25 (Dustin Ackley), June 15 (Felix Hernandez), July 28 (Dan Wilson and Randy Johnson).
  • DEBUTS: Four Mariners, Hisashi Iwakuma, Munenori Kawasaki, Lucas Luetge and Erasmo Ramirez, have made their MLB debuts this season.
  • DISABLED LIST: Miguel Olivo (15-day, May 1, strained right groin), George Sherrill (15-day, April 13, strained flexor bundle), Franklin Gutierrez (15-day, March 28, torn pectoral muscle), Adam Moore (15-day, March 28, fractured wrist).

  • April 24: Catcher Miguel Olivo matched the franchise record  when he was charged with three passed balls in a 7-4 win at Detroit. Jerry Narron let three balls get by him Oct. 4, 1980, and Jeff Clement did likewise Aug. 10, 2008 (Clement was catching knuckleballer R.A. Dickey).
  • April 27: Michael Saunders joined Donnie Scott (April 29, 1985) and Jimmy Presley (April 8, 1986) as the only Mariners to hit two home runs in a game in the ninth inning or later (solo homer in the 9th, grand slam in the 10th).
  • April 30: When both Miguel Olivo and Jesus Montero homered, it marked the first time in franchise history that two players had homered in the same game as a catcher.

Rec.HomeRoadDayNightvs. RHPvs. LHPHit HRNo HR



DateDayOpp.Probable Pitchers
5/3Thrat TBMillwood (0-2, 5.24)  vs. Niemann (1-2, 4.11)
5/4Frivs. MinVargas (3-2, 3.38) vs. Pavano (1-2, 4.91)
5/5Satvs. MinHernandez (2-1, 2.23) vs. Marquis (209, 6.23)
5/6Sunvs. MinNoesi (1-3, 7.83) vs. Blackburn (0-3, 6.64)

Gm.#DateOpp.W/LRec.Win / Loss
13/28at OakW, 3-11-0W: Wilhelmsen (1-0); L: Carignan (0-1)
23/29at OakL, 4-11-1W: Colon (1-0); L: Kelley (0-1)

Gm. #DateOpp.W/LRec.Win / Loss
34/6at OakW, 7-32-1W: Vargas (1-0); L: McCarthy (0-1)
44/7at OakW, 8-73-1W: Hernandez (1-0); L: Colon (1-1)
54/9at TexL, 11-53-2W: Darvish (1-0); L: Noesi (0-1)
64/10at TexL, 1-03-3W: Feliz (1-0); L: Beavan (0-1)
74/11at TexW, 4-34-3W: Luetge (1-0); L: Nathan (0-2)
84/12at TexL, 5-34-4W: Holland (1-0); L: Vargas (1-1
94/13vs OakL, 4-04-5W: Colon (2-1); L: Hernandez (1-1)
104/14vs. OakW, 4-05-5W: Noesi (1-1); L: Milone (1-1)
114/15vs. OakW, 5-36-5W: Beavan (1-1); L: Godfrey (0-2)
124/17vs. CleL, 9-86-6W: Perez (0-1); L: Furbush (0-1)
134/18vs. CleW, 4-17-6W: Vargas (2-1); L: Lowe (2-1)
144/19vs. CleL, 2-17-7W: Tomlin (1-1); L: League (0-1)
154/20vs. CWSL, 7-37-8W: Sale (2-1); L: Noesi (1-2)
164/21vs. CWSL, 4-07-9W: Humber (1-0); Beavan (1-2)
174/22vs. CWSL, 7-47-10W: Danks (2-2); L: Millwood (0-1)
184/24at DetW, 7-48-10W: Vargas (3-1); L: Scherzer (1-2)
194/25at DetW, 9-19-10W: Fernandez (2-1); L: Wilk (0-3)
204/26at DetW, 5-410-10W: Furbush (1-1); L: Porcello (1-2)
214/27at TorW, 9-511-10W: Furbush (2-1); L: Perez (2-1)
224/28at TorL, 7-011-11W: Morrow (2-1); L: Millwood (0-2)
234/29at TorL, 7-211-12W: Alvarez (1-2); L: Vargas (3-2)
244/30at TBL, 3-211-13W: Howell (1-0); L: League (0-2)

Gm. #DateOpp.W/LRec.Win / Loss
255/1at TBL, 3-111-14W: Moore (1-1); L: Noesi (1-3)
265/2at TBL, 5-411-15W: Shields (5-0); L: Beavan (1-3)
275/3at TB---------
285/4vs. Min---------
295/5vs. Min------
305/6vs. Min---------
315/7vs. Det---------
325/8vs. Det---------
335/9vs. Det---------
345/11at NYY---------
355/12at NYY---------
365/13at NYY---------
375/14at Bos--------
385/15at Bos---------
395/16at Cle---------
405/17at Cle---------
415/18at Col---------
425/19at Col---------
435/20at Col---------
445/21vs. Tex---------
455/22vs. Tex---------
465/23vs. Tex---------
475/24vs. LAL---------
485/25vs. LAL---------
495/26vs. LAL---------
505/27vs. LAL---------
515/28at Tex---------
525/29at Tex---------
535/30at Tex---------

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