American League Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, July 23rd (All times Eastern)
New York Yankees (57-38) at Seattle Mariners (42-55), 10:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Hiroki Kuroda (9-7, 3.46) Seattle - Kevin Millwood (3-7, 4.15)
(Sports Network) - Well tonight's series opener between the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners just got a whole lot more interesting.
Just hours before the start of the three-game series at Safeco Field, the Yankees acquired outfielder Ichiro Suzuki from the Mariners for a pair of minor league pitchers.
Suzuki, who will likely be in the lineup against his former team tonight, fills an enormous void in the outfield for the Yanks, who last week learned that Brett Gardner would be lost for the season.
Nick Swisher is also injured and is expected to miss this series.
The 38-year-old Suzuki, who is a free agent at season's end, has nowhere near resembled the 10-time All-Star he has been for the Mariners, as he is hitting just .261 with 49 runs scored in 95 games this season.
Of course, though, he is the franchise's all-time leader in hits, runs scored, triples and at-bats and will likely be showered with a long ovation when he steps to the plate as a member of the Yanks this evening.
Suzuki will be trying to help New York stop its season-long four-game skid.
The Yankees started their seven-game road trip in miserable fashion, as they lost all four games of their series with the Oakland Athletics and in Sunday's finale blew a four-run lead before falling, 5-4, in 12 innings at the Coliseum.
Alex Rodriguez's two-run double helped stake the Yanks to an early lead, but the A's chipped away at starter CC Sabathia and eventually tied the game in the ninth on Seth Smith's solo home run off of closer Rafael Soriano.
Oakland then won it in the 12th when Coco Crisp lined a single to right off Cody Eppley (0-2) to score Derek Norris.
"It's tough to lose four games regardless of how it looks," New York's Derek Jeter said. "We were playing pretty good coming in here but those guys have been playing good. They beat us four games. That's all you can say."
Hoping to end the streak, New York will turn to Japanese right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, who was brilliant his last time out and has been the Yanks best pitcher in the last two months. On Wednesday, Kuroda scattered four hits over seven scoreless innings to beat the Toronto Blue Jays and run his record to 9-7.
"When you have that kind of run support early in the game, you can be aggressive and try to go inside on righties and lefties, and that's what I did today," Kuroda said through an interpreter.
Since May 21, Kuroda has lost just one game -- winning six contests and lowering his ERA from 4.56 to 3.46 during the that time. He's also undefeated in eight of his last nine starts.
Kuroda beat the Mariners earlier in the year and is 1-1 in two starts against them with a 4.05 ERA.
Seattle, meanwhile, enters after an impressive series win over the Tampa Bay Rays. On Sunday, Blake Beavan spun eight innings of one- run ball, lifting the Mariners to their second consecutive 2-1 victory over the Rays.
Beavan (5-6) surrendered just four hits and didn't walk a batter while striking out five to earn the victory. Tom Wilhelmsen fired a scoreless ninth to nail down his 10th save of the season.
Jesus Montero and Brendan Ryan each clubbed RBI doubles as the Mariners wrapped up a seven-game roadtrip at 5-2.
"Real good roadtrip. It's tough to win on the road," said Seattle manager Eric Wedge. "The only two losses we did have were walk-offs, so tight ballgames throughout. These guys played tough."
Getting the call for the Mariners tonight will be righty Kevin Millwood, who is 3-7 with a 4.15 ERA. Millwood was awful his last time out on Wednesday in Kansas City, as he allowed seven runs and 10 hits in five innings, but escaped without a decision in his team's 8-7 loss.
He's winless in his last nine starts and is 0-3 with six no-decisions since last tasting victory back on May 23.
Millwood gave up a run in seven innings to beat the Yanks back on May 13, but is just 3-6 lifetime against them with a 4.80 ERA in 14 starts.
The Yankees took two of three from the Mariners earlier in the year.
07/23 18:49:29 ET