Friday, July 22, 2011
Mariners, Ichiro try to stop slide in Boston
The Seattle Mariners bring their 12-game losing streak to Fenway Park tonight for a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox. The 12-game losing streak is tied for the second-longest in team history, two games shy of the record set by the 1992 team.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last team to end a losing streak of 12-or-more games with a win against the Red Sox was the 1982 Rangers, who dropped 12 straight games before beating Boston, 1-0, in Arlington.
However, it’s been more than 50 years since a team carrying a losing streak of at least 12 games defeated the Red Sox in Fenway Park. That last happened on September 11, 1959, when the Kansas City Athletics, losers in their previous 13 games, won in Boston, 8-6.
Despite the home-field advantage of the Red Sox, the Mariners likely have the edge in the pitching matchup between Felix Hernandez and John Lackey.
Hernandez, who was on the mound the last time the Mariners won a game on July 5, has pitched brilliantly at Fenway during his career. He's posted a 3-0 record and 1.49 ERA in five career starts there. That’s the lowest ERA as a visitor at Fenway Park for any active pitcher who has thrown at least 30 innings there.
Lackey has really struggled at home this season. He’s posted a 7.68 ERA and opponents have a .891 OPS against him in eight starts at Fenway. The highest home ERA by any Red Sox pitcher for a full season (min. 75 IP) is 6.48 by Jack Lamabe in the 1964 season.
Ichiro Suzuki may be having a down season, on pace for fewer than 200 hits for the first time in his career, but he’s nearing a significant milestone.
Combining his MLB and Japanese League totals, he needs one hit to tie Stan Musial’s career hit total at 3,630 hits. Ichiro currently sits at 3,629 combined hits (2,351 in MLB; 1,278 in Japan) which is the fifth-most combined between MLB and Japanese League all-time.
What Else To Watch For Tonight
• The St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates kick off their three-game series with the NL Central title up for grabs. Albert Pujols is 19-for-33 (.576) lifetime against Pirates probable Paul Maholm. That’s the second-highest batting average in any batter-pitcher matchup with at least 30 at-bats among active players, according to Elias.
• The Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds face off in Cincinnati as Jair Jurrjens brings his NL-best 2.26 ERA to the mound looking for his NL-leading 13th win. Jurrjens is coming off his worst start this season, having allowed six runs against the Nationals on July 17.
• The Detroit Tigers face the Minnesota Twins in the second game of a four-game set in Minnesota. Tigers have 10 straight wins over Twins, the longest win streak by Detroit against Minnesota in team history.