GAME: Rangers (26-16, 1st AL West, 5.0 GA) atMariners (19-24, 4th AL West, - 7.5 GB). GAME #: 44. SERIES: 1st of 3 games. MEETING: 5th (Rangers lead 3-1). WHEN: Monday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. PROBABLE PITCHERS: RHP Yu Darvish (Texas, 6-1, 2.50) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (Seattle, 3-3, 3.23). STREAKS: Mariners W 3; Rangers W 1. TV: ROOT Sports, MLB TV. RADIO: KIRO 710 (Seattle), Mariners Radio Network.
Hard to get a better pitching matchup than Monday night when Seattle ace Felix Hernandez contests Texas phenom Yu Darvish. It's their first meeting and begins a three-game, Safeco Field series that provides the Mariners a chance to continue momentum from their sweep of the Rockies in Denver.
Hernandez is coming off back-to-back losses, the first time since he dropped his final three of the 2011 season. Darvish is coming off seven consecutive games of striking out seven or more and makes his Safeco Field debut.
Of equal interest will be Josh Hamilton, currently en route to a Triple Crown season. Hamilton leads the American League in batting average (.389), home runs (18) and RBIs (47). Hamilton also leads the AL in slugging percentage (.788) and OPS (1.225).
Bet Cincinnati regrets trading Hamilton to Texas Dec. 21, 2007 for Danny Herrera and Edinson Volquez.
But it all starts with pitching. Ergo, a closer look at Monday's probables:MARINERS: RHP Felix Hernandez (3-3, 3.23 ERA, 1.19 WHIP)
The 25-year-old Hernandez, in his eighth major league season, all with the Mariners, will be making his ninth start and first against the Rangers.
A native of Valencia, VZ., the 6-3, 230-pound Hernandez was signed as a non-drafted free agent July 4, 2002 by Seattle scout Bob Engle.
He made his major league debut Aug. 4, 2005, absorbing a 3-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers, in a game in which Hernandez allowed one earned run and fanned four. Hernandez is a two-time American League All-Star (2009, 2011) and won the AL Cy Young award in 2010, when he went 13-12 with a 2.27 ERA.
Hernandez has worked into the eighth inning in four of nine starts and into the seventh in two other starts. Hernandez has a career mark of 88-70, 3.21 ERA, and a career batting average against of .238.
- LAST START: May 16 at Cleveland, lost to the Indians 9-3; gave up eight runs, six earned, on a season-high 10 hits in just 3.2 innings; struck out three and walked three; threw 103 pitches, 60 for strikes.
- LAST VS. RANGERS: Sept. 24, suffered his final loss of the season as the Rangers won Mariners, 7-3; allowed five earned runs on 12 hits in 3.1 innings; struck out two, walked one.
- CAREER VS. RANGERS: 10-16, 4.03 ERA in 32 starts, covering 203.1 innings; averages 7.7 strikeouts per nine innings; 91 of 102 runs allowed have been earned; 18 home runs.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: 45-30, 3.15 ERA in 104 starts, covering 716.1 innings; averages 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings; 271 of 251 runs allowed earned; 59 home runs.
- LOVES TO FACE: Mitch Moreland (2-for-15, .133 BA), Mike Napoli (6-for-31, .194 BA, 11 K's), Ian Kinsler (12-for-57, .211 BA, 9 K's)
- HATES TO FACE: Elvis Andrus (15-for-43, .349 BA, 8 RBIs), David Murphy (18-for-58, .310 BA, 2 HR, 10 RBIs), Michael Young (23-for-80, .288 BA, 1 HR, 6 RBIs.
- CURRENT RANGERS VS. HERNANDEZ: 106-for-410, .330 BA, 12 home runs, 80 strikeouts.
- March 28 (ND, 0-0): Pitched well enough to win season debut, but the Mariners and A’s battled through a 1-1 tie until the 11th when Seattle pushed across two runs to win 3-1, a Tokyo Dome contest that featured a home run and two RBIs by Dustin Ackley and a 4-for-5 performance by Ichiro.
- April 7: (W, 1-0): Didn’t have best stuff — allowed six earned runs on eight hits over 6.1 IP — but 13 hits, 3 by Chone Figgins, staked him to a 6-0 lead.
- April 13 (L, 1-1): Allowed two earned runs on seven hits over 7 IP, but lost to Bartolo Colon and the A’s 4-0; fanned six and walked two in a 107-pitch effort that included 69 strikes; had an equal number of ground ball and fly ball outs, 10.
- April 19 (ND, 1-1): Gave up five hits and no runs in 8.0 innings vs. Cleveland at Safeco Field; had 12 strikeouts and one walk; Brandon League relieved and sustained a blown save and the 2-1 loss.
- April 25 (W, 2-1): Defeated Detroit 9-1 at Comerica Park; allowed one earned run on four hits over 7.0 innings; uncharacteristic three walks in the first inning.
- April 30 (ND, 2-1) Took a no-decision in Seattle’s 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay when Brandon League blew the save and game; allowed one earned run on five hits over 8.0 innings; fanned nine and walked four; threw 106 pitches, 71 for strikes.
- May 5 (W, 3-1): Beat Twins 7-0; allowed one hit over 8.0 innings, struck out nine and walked two; threw 107 pitches, 71 for strikes.
- May 11 (L, 3-2): Lost 6-2 when Ibanez belted a three-run homer; allowed four earned runs on a season-high 11 hits; struck out seven, walked two.
- May 16 (L, 3-3): At Cleveland, lost 9-3; gave up eight earned runs on a season-high 10 hits in just 3.2 innings; struck out three and walked three; threw 103 pitches, 60 for strikes.
A native of Habikino, Osaka, Japan, the 6-5, 215-pound Darvish signed with the Rangers Dec. 19, 2011, after a record posting fee of $51.7 million and a $60 million contract over six years.
Darvish, 25, pitched for Japan’s Hokkaido Nippon Ham from 2007 through 2011, compiling a record of 72-28 with a 1.72 ERA. Darvish is a two-time Pacific League Most Valuable Player (2007, 2009), a three-time strikeout champion (2007, 2010-11), a two-time ERA champion (2009-10) and a two-time Gold Glove winner (2007-08).
Darvish, who played in five NPB All-Star Games, pitched for Japan in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Darvish attracted the attention of major league clubs in 2004, when the Anaheim Angels and Atlanta Braves scouted him extensively. The Mets and Dodgers also showed interest.
Darvish became Japan’s highest-paid player before the start of the 2011 season when he agreed to a contract worth slightly more than $6 million U.S.
In 2011, Darvish opened by allowing seven runs in seven innings, but after that did not allow more than three runs in any start. He had a streak of 13 wins in 14 decisions. He finished with 18 wins in a season that featured a career-low 1.44 ERA. He led the league with 28 starts, 232 innings, 276 strikeouts and a 0.82 WHIP.
Darvish showed remarkable location, walking 36 batters.
Darvish’s parents met at Eckerd College, a liberal arts school in St. Petersburg, FL., where his father played for the college soccer team.
- 2012: Darvish has pitched into the sixth inning in five of his eight starts. He had his best outing April 24, defeating the Yankees 2-0; allowed seven hits over 8.1 innings and fanned 10 while walking two. Darvish had his worst outing May 6 at Cleveland when he gave up three earned runs in a 4-1 loss. Darvish had a season-high 11 strikeouts.
- LAST START: May 16, defeated Oakland 4-1 at the Ballpark in Arlington; allowed one earned run on four hits over 7.1 innings; struck out seven and walked two while throwing 118 pitches.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: Defeated the Mariners and Hector Noesi 11-5 despite giving up four earned runs in the first inning; allowed five earned runs on eight hits over 5.2 innings; struck out five and walked four, throwing 110 pitches.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 1-0, 7.94 ERA in one game, a start, covering 5.2 innings; Seattle batting average against Darvish is .320.
- AT SAFECO FIELD: First appearance.
- LOVES TO FACE: Dustin Ackley (0-for-4, .000 BA), Michael Saunders (0-for-3, .000 BA), Brendan Ryan (0-for-3, .000 BA).
- HATES TO FACE: Ichiro (3-for-5, .600 BA), Kyle Seager (3-for-5, .600 BA).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. DARVISH: 11-for-38, .289 BA, seven strikeouts, four walks.
- CURRENT HOME STAND: Three against Texas Monday-Wednesday, four vs. Los Angeles Angels Thursday-Sunday.
- HOME STAND PROMOTIONS: Monday -- BECU Half-Price Family Night; Tuesday -- Military Discount Night; Wednesday -- Grand Slam Family Package Night; Senior Special Day; Weather Education Day; Thursday -- College Night; Friday -- Dustin Ackley Bobblehead Night (first 20,000 fans); Saturday -- Turn Back The Clock Night ('50s poster); Sunday -- Little League Day (Justin Smoak Growth Chart; Senior Special Day).
- MARINERS VS. RANGERS: Mariners258-264all-time vs. Rangers, including 61-50 at Safeco Field. Texas took three of four at The Ballpark in Arlington April 9-12, outscoring Seattle 20-12. Mariners haven't won a season series against Texas since 2007. Seattle's last three-game sweep against Texas at Safeco: Sept. 28-30, 2007.
- LATEST: Mariners went 4-6 on 10-game road trip after winning the past three in Colorado . . .Mariners started season winning eight of first 12 on the road, but are 4-12 since April 28 . . . Mariners scored six runs Sunday, but have scored two or fewer runs in 15 of 43 games . . . Mariners are 3-0 in interleague play and have at least a .500 record in such games for 12 consecutive seasons . . . The back-to-back home runs by Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak Sunday were the first of the season for Seattle . . . Kyle Seager, who had a home run and three RBIs Saturday, has collected at least one RBI in nine of last 16 games . . . Three homers Sunday (Montero, Smoak, Seager) most in a game since April 27 at Toronto (also three) . . . With Jason Vargas' hit Saturday, Mariners pitchers are 1-for-6 in interleague play . . . Every Seattle starter with the exception of Alex Liddi (0-for-5) had at least one hit Saturday . . . Over their past15road games, the Mariners are 15-for-112 (.140) with runners in scoring position. . . C Miguel Olivo, on the DL since May 1, will begin a rehab assignment with AAA Tacoma Monday . . . Mariners have played 28 road games vs. 15 at home . . . Mariners do not expect OF Franklin Gutierrez to return to the team until at least mid-June.
- SERIES/STREAKS: Series Record: Won 6, split 0, lost 8; Sweeps: 2; Swept: 2. Longest Win Streak: 4 (April 24-27). Longest Losing Streak: 7 (April 28-May 4). Vs. AL East:2-10; Vs. AL Central: 8-9; Vs. AL West: 6-5; Vs NL West: 3-0.
- BATTING: Marinersrank10th (AL) in runs (164),11th in hits(342), eighth in doubles (70), first in triples (9)andninth in home runs(38) . . . Rank 13th in batting average (.235),13th in on-base percentage (.291), 12th in slugging (.374)and13th in OPS (.664) . . .batting 79-for-347 (.227) with runners in scoring position after going 2-for-9 Sunday . . . out-homered 47-38. . . left 262 men on base, opponents265 . . .scored 164runs, opponents 176 . . . scored90 of 164 runsin the first four innings . . . Mariners 16-6 when scoring 4+ runs . . . Mariners have homered in17 of last 26 games. . . 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 EXTRA: Dustin Ackley has Seattle's longest hitting streak at 13 consecutive games (May 3-17). Jesus Montero and Miguel Olivo had eight-game hitting streaks, Montero from March 29-April 14, Olivo from April 22 until he went on DL list May 1 . . . Mariners hav 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 . . . Walk-Off Wins: May 7, their first since Sept. 14, 2011 vs. New York, and their first via a sacrifice fly since Sept. 14, 2007 vs. Tampa Bay (Jose Guillen); Walk-Off Losses: May 17, at Cleveland, Carlos Santana bases-loaded single off League in 11th . . . Back-To-Back Home Runs: Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak, 3rd inning, May 20, at Colorado.
- PITCHING: Mariners rank eighth in ERA (3.98),sixth in hits allowed(345), seventhin runs allowed (176),11th in home runs allowed(47),sixth in walks (125),sixth in strikeouts (306) . . . Felix Hernandez has 17 career no-decisions while throwing 7.0 or more innings and allowing one or fewer runs . . . Closer Brandon League is 0-3 with two blown saves.
- ICHIRO (1-for-4 Sunday) has766 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 . . . Ranks97th on career hitslist (2,477) and needs 13 to tie No. 96 Fred McGriff . . . 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: The Mariners will play 10 games in the next 10 days. Their next day off is May 31 . . . Mariners have three more bobblehead nights: Saturday (Dustin Ackley), June 15 (Felix Hernandez), July 28 (Dan Wilson and Randy Johnson).
- DEBUTS: Munenori Kawasaki (April 7), Lucas Luetge (April 7), Erasmo Ramirez (April 9), Hisashi Iwakuma (April 20).
- 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; plantar fascitis), Adam Moore (15-day, March 28, fractured wrist).
- EX-MARINERS VS. CURRENT MARINERS: April 19, Jack Hannahan, Indians, 2-run single in ninth off Brandon League in Tribe's 2-1 win; April 28, Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays, one earned run over 7.0 innings in 7-0 win; May 11, Raul Ibanez, Yankees, 3-run homer off Felix Hernandez in 6-2 win; May 12, Raul Ibanez, Yankees, solo homer off Hector Noesi in 6-2 win; May 15, David Ortiz, Red Sox, solo homer off Blake Beaven in 5-0 Red Sox win; May 16, Shin-Soo Choo (3), Asdrubal Cabrera (2) and Jose Lopez (1) combine for 6 hits in 9-3 Cleveland win; May 17, Casey Kotchman (2), Cabrera (2), Jose Lopez (1), Choo (1) six of Cleveland's 10 hits, plus 5 RBIs, in a 6-5 win.
- 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.
- May 2: Ichiro set a club record for most putouts by a right fielder in a nine-inning game, registering 10 in a 5-4 loss at Tampa.
- May 3: The Mariners featured a lineup at Tampa Bay that included seven left- handed hitters and two switch-hitters. It marked only the third time in club history that the Mariners used an all left-sided lineup. Others: Aug. 13, 1983 at California and Aug. 9, 1983 at Oakland.
- May 5: Combined one-hitter by Felix Hernandez and Steve Delabar vs. Minnesota was the 13th in Mariners history. Ten have been thrown by one pitcher, three combined. Most recent combined: Michael Pineda, Jeff Gray and Brandon League vs. Tampa, July 30, 2011. Most recent by one pitcher: Jarrod Washburn, July 6, 2009.
- May 9: When John Jaso batted leadoff against Detroit, it marked the first time since 1978 that a catcher had hit first for the Marines (Bob Stinson). Oddly, lefty Jaso led off against Tiger lefty Drew Smyly.
- May 8: Kevin Millwood's 2-0 shutout marked his first in nearly nine years. He did not surrender his first hit until there were two outs in the sixth. Millwood's gem marked only the fourth time in 1,440 games at Coors Field that an opposing pitcher held the Rockies to two hits or less while shutting them out. Millwood's complete game also was the first by a Mariner in 2012.
|Rec.||Home||Road||Day||Night||vs. RHP||vs. LHP||Hit HR||No HR|
|5/21||Mon||vs. Tex||Felix Hernandez (3-3, 3.02) vs. Yu Darvish (6-1, 2.60)|
|5/22||Tue||vs. Tex||Hector Noesi (2-4, 5.61) vs. Matt Harrison (4-3, 5.21)|
|5/23||Wed||vs. Tex||Kevin Millwood (2-4, 4.17) vs. Neftali Feliz (3-1, 3.16)|
|Gm.#||Date||Opp.||W/L||Rec.||Win / Loss|
|1||3/28||at Oak||W, 3-1||1-0||W: Wilhelmsen (1-0); L: Carignan (0-1)|
|2||3/29||at Oak||L, 4-1||1-1||W: Colon (1-0); L: Kelley (0-1)|
|Gm. #||Date||Opp.||W/L||Rec.||Win / Loss|
|3||4/6||at Oak||W, 7-3||2-1||W: Vargas (1-0); L: McCarthy (0-1)|
|4||4/7||at Oak||W, 8-7||3-1||W: Hernandez (1-0); L: Colon (1-1)|
|5||4/9||at Tex||L, 11-5||3-2||W: Darvish (1-0); L: Noesi (0-1)|
|6||4/10||at Tex||L, 1-0||3-3||W: Feliz (1-0); L: Beavan (0-1)|
|7||4/11||at Tex||W, 4-3||4-3||W: Luetge (1-0); L: Nathan (0-2)|
|8||4/12||at Tex||L, 5-3||4-4||W: Holland (1-0); L: Vargas (1-1|
|9||4/13||vs Oak||L, 4-0||4-5||W: Colon (2-1); L: Hernandez (1-1)|
|10||4/14||vs. Oak||W, 4-0||5-5||W: Noesi (1-1); L: Milone (1-1)|
|11||4/15||vs. Oak||W, 5-3||6-5||W: Beavan (1-1); L: Godfrey (0-2)|
|12||4/17||vs. Cle||L, 9-8||6-6||W: Perez (0-1); L: Furbush (0-1)|
|13||4/18||vs. Cle||W, 4-1||7-6||W: Vargas (2-1); L: Lowe (2-1)|
|14||4/19||vs. Cle||L, 2-1||7-7||W: Tomlin (1-1); L: League (0-1)|
|15||4/20||vs. CWS||L, 7-3||7-8||W: Sale (2-1); L: Noesi (1-2)|
|16||4/21||vs. CWS||L, 4-0||7-9||W: Humber (1-0); Beavan (1-2)|
|17||4/22||vs. CWS||L, 7-4||7-10||W: Danks (2-2); L: Millwood (0-1)|
|18||4/24||at Det||W, 7-4||8-10||W: Vargas (3-1); L: Scherzer (1-2)|
|19||4/25||at Det||W, 9-1||9-10||W: Fernandez (2-1); L: Wilk (0-3)|
|20||4/26||at Det||W, 5-4||10-10||W: Furbush (1-1); L: Porcello (1-2)|
|21||4/27||at Tor||W, 9-5||11-10||W: Furbush (2-1); L: Perez (2-1)|
|22||4/28||at Tor||L, 7-0||11-11||W: Morrow (2-1); L: Millwood (0-2)|
|23||4/29||at Tor||L, 7-2||11-12||W: Alvarez (1-2); L: Vargas (3-2)|
|24||4/30||at TB||L, 3-2||11-13||W: Howell (1-0); L: League (0-2)|
|Gm. #||Date||Opp.||W/L||Rec.||Win / Loss|
|25||5/1||at TB||L, 3-1||11-14||W: Moore (1-1); L: Noesi (1-3)|
|26||5/2||at TB||L, 5-4||11-15||W: Shields (5-0); L: Beavan (1-3)|
|27||5/3||at TB||L, 4-3||11-16||W: Niemann (2-3); L: Millwood (0-3)|
|28||5/4||vs. Min||L, 3-2||11-17||W: Pavano (2-2); L: Wilhelmsen (1-1)|
|29||5/5||vs. Min||W, 7-0||12-17||W: Hernandez (3-1); L: Marquis (2-1)|
|30||5/6||vs. Min||W, 5-2||13-17||W: Noesi (2-3): L: Blackburn (0-4)|
|31||5/7||vs. Det||W, 3-2||14-17||W: Delabar (1-0); L: Dotel (1-1)|
|32||5/8||vs. Det||L, 6-4||14-18||W: Verlander (3-1); L: Millwood (0-4)|
|33||5/9||vs. Det||W, 2-1||15-18||W: Vargas (4-2); L: Putkoen (0-1)|
|34||5/11||at NYY||L, 6-2||15-19||W: Kuroda (3-4); L: Hernandez (3-2)|
|35||5/12||at NYY||L, 6-2||15-20||W: Hughes (3-4); L: Noesi (2-4)|
|36||5/13||at NYY||W, 6-2||16-20||W: Millwood (1-4); L: Pettitte (0-1)|
|37||5/14||at Bos||L, 6-1||16-21||L: Lester (2-3); L: Vargas (4-3)|
|38||5/15||at Bos||L, 5-0||16-22||W: Beckett (3-4); L: Beavan (1-4)|
|39||5/16||at Cle||L, 9-3||16-23||W: Jimenez (4-3): L: Hernandez (3-3)|
|40||5/17||at Cle||L, 6-5||16-24||W: Smith (4-1); L: League (0-3)|
|41||5/18||at Col||W, 4-0||17-24||W: Millwood (2-4); L: White (0-3)|
|42||5/19||at Col||W, 10-3||18-24||W: Vargas (5-3); L: Friedrich (1-1)|
|43||5/20||at Col||W, 6-4||19-24||W: Beavan (2-4); L: Guthrie (2-2)|