Mariners Update – June 20

Gold Nuggets:
I think it’s now safe to delete the phrase “Safeco Joe” from our vocabulary. Following his eight strong innings Wednesday night in Anaheim, Joe Saunders has a 1.23 ERA (3 ER, 22.0 IP) over his last three road starts in San Diego, Oakland, and Anaheim. An Angels offense that outscored the Mariners 30-4 over the first three games played this season in Anaheim, has suddenly been able to plate only three runs over the last two games.

For as futile as the Halos were against Jeremy Bonderman and Saunders the past two nights, the Mariners have had their share of challenges with Angels starters Joe Blanton and C.J. Wilson. Don’t let Blanton’s 1-10 record fool you. Yes, he’s given up a ton of hits this year (a Major League high 117), but his performance Tuesday night against the Mariners was his seventh quality start in 14 outings.

Wilson, meanwhile, has had the Mariners number. In three starts this year against the M’s, the man with a lifetime supply of Head & Shoulders is 3-0, 1.77 ERA (4 ER/22.0 IP) with 22 strikeouts. He’s the only pitcher this year to collect three wins against Seattle, and is 8-1 with a 2.00 ERA over his last 10 starts vs. the Mariners (since the start of 2011).

When this series is over, what I might remember most is the defensive play of Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos. These two centaurs have made so many crashing/leaping catches over the last three nights that I’ve honestly started losing track. While we haven’t seen them rob a home run, they’ve certainly stolen plenty of extra bases — and at some big times, too – like this catch by Trout up against the wall in left field on a Mike Zunino drive with the tying and go-ahead runners on base last night.

QUICK HITS

  • Trout, who scored the lone run of the game Wednesday night on a wild pitch, has reached base 17 times over the last (I trust you’re already sitting down) five games. The Angels are a mortal 9-26 when he doesn’t score a run.
  • Dustin Ackley is hitting .400 with 34 hits in 20 games with Tacoma.
  • Ramon Morla hit a 3-run home run in his Double-A debut with the Jackson Generals yesterday.
  • DJ Peterson, the Mariners No. 1 draft pick (12th overall) in the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft, made his pro debut for the Everett AquaSox last night and went 0-for-3 with a walk.
  • The CG by Joe Saunders last night was his second of the season, tying Aaron Harang for the team lead…it was the first CG loss by a Mariners starter since current Angel Jason Vargas on Aug. 6, 2012 at Baltimore.
  • In two career starts vs. his former team, Joe Saunders is 0-2 with a 1.93 ERA…and has not received any run support in losses by scores of 2-0 (6/16/12 – ARI at LAA) and 1-0 (last night). Saunders was the Angels first round draft pick (12th overall) in the 2002 June Draft.
  • The Rangers topped the first-place A’s 9-5 Wednesday night in Arlington. Justin Grimm earned the win and became the first Rangers starting pitcher to collect a win since Derek Holland on May 31 against Kansas City.
  • A win tonight against the Angles and the Mariners finish the road trip 4-3 with a series win against the division’s first place team. Happy Felix Day. Here is a statistical preview of tonight’s matchups (Felix Hernandez vs. Tommy Hanson).

QUOTABLE:
“Everything. What’s not to like? He’s been a shot in the arm. Nothing fazes him.” This is what bench coach Robby Thompson told Aaron Goldsmith when asked what he’s liked so far about rookie second baseman Nick Franklin.

PHOTO OF THE DAY:

Mariners first round pick DJ Peterson made his pro debut with Everett last night. (Shari Sommerfeld)

DJ Peterson made his pro debut with Everett last night. (Shari Sommerfeld)

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