American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, July 11
(All times Eastern)
Oakland Athletics (58-34) at Seattle Mariners (49-43), 10:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Oakland - Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 1.29)
Seattle - Felix Hernandez (10-2, 2.11)
(SportsNetwork.com) - If the Seattle Mariners intend on challenging the
Oakland Athletics in the American League West this season, this weekend would
be a nice jumping off point.
And who better to have on the hill than Felix Hernandez, as the Mariners kick
off a three-game series versus the A's at Safeco Field.
Seattle, which is nine games back of Oakland in the division, pushed Hernandez
back a day so he would be able to start this set. The right-hander has been
nearly flawless this season and is in the midst of a franchise-record 10
consecutive starts of at least seven innings while allowing two earned runs or
less. He is 6-1 with a 1.40 ERA over that span.
"You want your best pitchers facing your division rivals," Seattle manager
Lloyd McClendon said. "Those are the guys in front of us. I'd be foolish if I
didn't want Felix facing Oakland and Anaheim."
Seattle could have used Hernandez on Thursday, as the Mariners were swept by
Minnesota, 4-2, in a game that they used six relief pitchers to get by.
Seattle has now lost four of five and has managed just three runs in the sweep
by the Twins.
Hernandez, meanwhile, did not get a decision on Saturday in Chicago, but was
again solid, as he surrendered two runs, three hits and struck out eight over
eight innings in his team's 3-2 win. He is 10-2 overall on the year to go
along with a 2.11 ERA.
The former AL Cy Young Award winner may also set the Mariners record for
the lowest ERA prior to the All-Star break of 2.20 set by Randy Johnson in
"It's good for me, but I just have to go out there and do my job," Hernandez
said. "It's no different than any other game. I just have to give my team a
chance to win. That's all I've got to do."
Hernandez stands a good chance at staying on track, as he is 17-7 lifetime
with a 2.64 ERA in 32 starts against Oakland, including 2-0 with a 2.49 ERA in
three outings this year.
Oakland, though, will oppose him with an impressive righty of its own in
newly acquired Jeff Samardzija, who will be making his second start with the
A's since being traded from Chicago.
Samardzija beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, limiting them to a run and
four hits in seven innings.
"They were doing just fine without me," Samardzija said. "I don't want to come
in and change anything and change the atmosphere."
Samardzija gave up two runs over seven innings in a no-decision in his only
other start versus the Mariners.
Oakland has split 10 games with the Mariners this season.
07/11 10:51:35 ET