(Sports Network) - Felix Hernandez tries once again to nail down career win
No. 100, as the Seattle Mariners begin a three-game series with the Houston
Astros on Monday at Minute Maid Park.
Hernandez has been stuck on 99 wins since his Opening Day victory at Oakland.
He suffered subsequent losses to the White Sox and Rangers before taking a no-
decision against the Tigers on Wednesday. Hernandez was his usual dominant
self in that last outing, as he tossed eight innings of one-run ball
(unearned) while striking out 12 and allowing only four hits.
Astros catcher Jason Castro took to the film room to get a glimpse of what
awaits Houston's lineup on Monday.
"He's one of the best pitchers in baseball for a reason," Castro said. "I've
watched him on video a little bit and he's got a lot of quality pitches. He
does a good job attacking the zone, so we need to make sure when we do get our
pitches, we don't miss it.
"He's one of the guys who can attack you in a lot of different ways with his
breaking ball and changeup and different things like that, so it's something
we've got to bear down and have good at-bats continuously throughout the
For Houston, right-hander Brad Peacock will try to get past the fifth inning
for the first time in four starts this season. He was charged with three
earned runs in 4 1/3 innings against the A's on Tuesday, as he struck out
seven. Peacock's only victory so far in 2013 came at Seattle on April 10, when
he pitched five innings and gave up three runs on four hits.
Seattle suffered a three-game sweep at the hands of Texas over the weekend,
and that included shutout losses on both Friday and Saturday. In their last 10
games, the Mariners have managed to score more than three runs only once.
Seattle is scoring an American League-worst 3.05 runs per game and has totaled
only 13 runs over its last eight contests. Sunday's 11-3 loss to Texas
featured 11 strikeouts by the M's, and the hitters have been punched out 63
times over the last five games. Manager Eric Wedge called the strikeouts
"ridiculous" and said the hitters need a better approach with two strikes.
"The focus shouldn't be on the young players right now," Wedge said. "If
anything, the focus should be on the veterans. They're the ones that should be
leading the way. It's easy to pick on the young players, but everybody is
accountable for this."
The Astros had a chance to notch a series victory against Cleveland over the
weekend, but they fell in Sunday's series finale, 5-4. Houston went 1-for-23
with runners in scoring position during the three-game set.
"You obviously want to capitalize and win games like this," manager Bo Porter
said. "Unfortunately we came up short, but we definitely had our
opportunities. We had chances and we didn't capitalize."
Houston leads the majors with 173 strikeouts so far this season, followed by
Seattle with 167. The Astros did not face Hernandez in their series win (2-1)
in Seattle earlier this month.