Mariners Update – June 25

The Mariners open a 2-game series vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight at Safeco Field (7:10 pm). The brief Interleague series will conclude tomorrow with an afternoon version of the King’s Court (12:40 p.m.), and then the Chicago Cubs come to town this weekend. Here are some brief notes catching you up on Mariners baseball…

A couple of good articles came across the old RSS feed that are worth sharing:

Pirates Scouting Report: The Pirates make their second trip to the Northwest, and first since a three-game series in 2007. A lot has changed since Pittsburg last visited Safeco Field, as the Buccos are currently 16 games over .500 at 46-30 (2nd place in AL Central) and have four straight games (and 5 of last 6). The Pirates feature probably the best pitcher you’ve never heard of this season, as left-hander Jeff Locke (raise your hand if you’ve seen him pitch) takes the mound with an NL-best 2.01 ERA. Locke is 6-0 with a 1.73 ERA in his last 14 starts and hasn’t lost since his season debut on April 7. Third baseman Pedro Alvarez is one of the hottest hitters in baseball, with home runs in each of his last four games, and is tied for 2nd in the NL with 19 home runs. When the Mariners and Pirates met back in early May, Alvarez (the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 Draft), was batting .168 with 5 home runs. In 37 games since, he is batting .295 with 14 home runs. And of course there is one of the most exciting players in all of baseball in Andrew McCutchen.  Here is a statistical look at tonight’s series opener provided by Baseball-Reference.com.

Safeco Joe: It may be time to take away the nickname Safeco Joe…and just call him Smokin Joe Saunders. Over his last 5 starts the left-hander is 2-2 with a 1.82 ERA (7 ER, 34.2 IP) with 5 quality starts. Overall, Saunders is 5-7 with a 4.48 ERA, including a 4-2, 2.53 record at Safeco Field. He is 1-0, 3.46 ERA in 2 career starts vs. the Pirates.

Holman in the House: Former Mariners pitcher Brian Holman is visiting Seattle and will be around the ballpark the next few days. Holman made 81 appearances (80 starts) for the Mariners from 1989-1991, and is most known for his near perfect game April 20, 1990 vs. the Oakland A’s.

Reliever K/9.0 IP: When doing some game notes this morning, I stumbled upon the fact that three Mariners relievers are listed in the top 11 in the American League in strikeouts per 9.0 innings: Charlie Furbush (5th, 13.34), Danny Farquhar (6th, 13.03) and Oliver Perez (11th, 12.26). Very quietly, Perez is putting together a pretty phenomenal season out of the bullpen. Perez has the 3rd-best ERA (0.98) by an AL reliever (Jesse Crain – 0.52, Tanner Scheppers – 0.95), and has not allowed a run over his last 11.0 innings.

Ageless Wonder: There has been a lot of talk about Raul Ibañez and his home runs hit at the age of 41 lately…which is very cool. Raul leads the team (and ranks T6th in the AL with 17 home runs). He has been on a home run binge lately, with three longballs in the last two games. The best way to find statistics by age is through the Play Index at Baseball-Reference.com (I highly suggest becoming a subscriber). Baseball-Ref computes a players age for a season on June 30, so since Raul turned 41 on June 2, this is his age 41 season (even though he has hit 8 of his 17 home runs as a 41-year-old). Here is a listing of the most home runs hit by a player in their age 41 (or older) season. The record is 29 by Hall of Famer Ted Williams in his final season in 1960.

Raul

Down on the Farm:

  • Taijuan Walker makes his Triple-A debut tonight for the Tacoma Rainiers.
  • Brad Miller has a 20-game hitting streak for the Rainiers.
  • Tacoma hitting coach Howard Johnson will be a coach for the USA squad in the 2013 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.
  • Mariners 2nd-round draft pick Austin Wilson made his pro debut for Everett last night going 1-for-2 with 2 walks (started at DH).

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