Mariners-Blue Jays Preview
The Toronto Blue Jays return to Rogers Centre just in time for
Jose Bautista to possibly hit his 50th home run in front of the
After a disappointing six-game road trip, Toronto (75-74) opens
a three-game series Tuesday night against the league-worst Seattle
Bautista failed to homer in his fourth straight game Sunday,
going 0 for 4 in the Blue Jays’ 6-0 loss to Boston.
With a franchise-record 49 home runs, the slugger is one shy of
becoming the 26th player in history to reach the 50-homer mark.
Prince Fielder (50) and Alex Rodriguez (54) last accomplished the
feat in 2007.
Bautista’s previous season high was 16, which he amassed in 2006
with Pittsburgh. He has two home runs in 39 career at-bats against
Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki also has a chance to reach a milestone
in this series, as he remains seven hits short of reaching 200 for
the 10th straight season. Ichiro leads the league with 193
“It’s amazing what he can do,” second baseman Chone Figgins told
the Mariners’ official website. “He’s able to get all kinds of
hits, from balls he barely touches to home runs, and that’s why he
gets 200 hits every year.”
Despite Ichiro’s success, the Mariners (57-92) are an AL-worst
22-50 on the road, where they have lost four straight and nine of
Scheduled starter Luke French (4-5, 4.02 ERA) has been shaky on
the road as well, posting a 1-4 record with a 5.46 ERA in five away
The left-hander allowed four runs and six hits over seven
innings Tuesday in a 9-6 loss to Boston but left without a
decision. He has never faced Toronto.
He’ll be opposed by struggling Marc Rzepczynski (1-4, 6.15), who
is winless in six straight starts.
The left-hander picked up his only win of the season Aug. 13,
when he limited the Angels to two hits over seven innings in a 3-0
victory. He is 0-3 with a 7.33 ERA since that win.
Rzepczynski did not receive a decision in his only start against
the Mariners, allowing three runs over 5 1-3 innings with eight
strikeouts July 28, 2009.
Toronto, which has lost eight of 11, hopes to have second
baseman Aaron Hill available in the series opener. He has missed
the last two games after getting hit by a pitch on his right wrist
“We have to just take it one day at a time,” manager Cito Gaston
told Toronto’s official website. “Hopefully he can play
Hill has 24 home runs and 63 RBIs this season, but is hitting
.211, 61 points below his career average.
Sunday’s loss officially eliminated the Blue Jays from playoff
“It’s always disappointing when the playoffs are starting and
you’re not one of the teams in it,” second baseman John McDonald
said. “We set out goals of making the playoffs and the World