Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez delivered
another brilliant outing for the Seattle Mariners his last time
out, but rookie Michael Pineda has been the club’s most consistent
starter this season.
Pineda will try to win his third consecutive outing Friday night
when the Mariners continue their set against the visiting Oakland
Hernandez, the league leader in ERA (2.27), innings (249 2-3)
and opponents’ batting average (.212) last season, improved to 2-2
with a 3.38 ERA after throwing 7 2-3 innings of four-hit ball in
Thursday’s 1-0 series-opening win.
Seattle (7-13) had dropped six of eight overall and five in a
row at home in this matchup.
“His stuff is as good as anyone in the game,” manager Eric Wedge
said of Hernandez.
Pineda (2-1, 2.33 ERA), though, has been even better. In his
third career start, the right-hander surrendered one run in six
innings of Sunday’s 3-2 victory at Kansas City. Opponents are
batting .197 against Pineda, who has struck out 16 and allowed just
13 hits – with no home runs – in 19 1-3 innings.
“I can’t say enough about this guy,” said shortstop Brendan
Ryan. “From the end of spring training, I’ve said this guy has a
legit shot to be the rookie of the year. You see his stuff. You
make guys look the way they do on all three pitches, he’s
outstanding and he’s only going to get better. … He’s got a great
chance to be something special.”
Tyson Ross (1-1, 3.60) also might have that potential, but for
now, the right-hander is just happy to be back in Oakland’s
rotation. After losing the battle for the fifth starter’s spot in
the spring, Ross replaces Dallas Braden after the left-hander was
placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a stiff
Ross, who turns 24 on Friday, is 0-2 with a 7.04 ERA in two
career starts, with the last coming May 20 against Detroit.
“I’m excited,” he told the A’s official website. “I’m looking
forward to the opportunity to start again.”
In his lone appearance against Seattle, Ross had two strikeouts
and threw 2 1-3 scoreless innings in a 6-5 home win April 7,
While Oakland (9-10) leads the majors with a 2.52 ERA, Ross
probably shouldn’t expect too much run support. The A’s had just
five hits Thursday – all singles – and the club is batting .237
with the second-fewest runs (66) in the AL.
The Mariners have been getting great production from utility
infielder Adam Kennedy, who could get his third consecutive start
at first base Friday with Justin Smoak on the bereavement list.
Kennedy, playing for his fourth team in four seasons – including
the A’s in 2009 – homered for the second straight game Thursday and
is batting a team-best .316.
The Mariners could also have Milton Bradley in the lineup after
he missed the series opener with an illness.
Daric Barton, a career. 322 hitter in Seattle, might be back at
first base for Oakland after an illness prevented him from starting
Thursday. He struck out in the eighth inning as a pinch hitter,
dropping his batting average to .071 (1 for 14) over the past five
Seattle has won three of four against Oakland this season after
losing the last five meetings in 2010.