Mariners-Reds Preview

After making an immediate impact in his return to the lineup,

Michael Saunders will try to help the Seattle Mariners add to their

dominance over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.

Before a 4-2 victory in the series opener Friday, Saunders was

limited to coming off the bench after his right middle fingernail

was spiked on a pickoff play in a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs a

week earlier.

The time off proved beneficial for Saunders as he hit his first

home run since May 4 and drove in a pair of runs while helping end

the Reds’ three-game win streak. He had four RBIs in his previous

48 games.

“You don’t realize how much you need something so small until

you hurt it,” Saunders told the team’s website. “To hurt my

fingertip, it doesn’t sound like anything that would cause too much

trouble. But with what we do, our hands are everything, and it’s

made me realize how important your fingernail or fingertip really

is.”

The Mariners (38-48) are 3-1 on a six-game road trip after

dropping nine of 13. Seattle looks to keep its successful trek

going by improving to 5-0 all-time in Cincinnati and 10-1 overall

against the Reds (49-37).

Jeremy Bonderman (1-2, 4.05 ERA) will try to help while bouncing

back from his shortest outing since returning to the majors. The

right-hander gave up six runs in 3 1-3 innings of a 7-6 loss to the

Cubs on Sunday after posting a 1.42 ERA in his prior four

starts.

Bonderman was pounded for seven runs in three innings of a 9-4

loss in his only start against the Reds on May 19, 2006 while with

Detroit. He has never pitched in Cincinnati.

Mat Latos (7-2, 3.03) has gone 1-2 in his last three starts

despite a 2.79 ERA, getting four total runs of support and none in

two of the three games.

The right-hander gave up three runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 3-2

loss to Texas on Sunday. He committed a throwing error on a squeeze

play in the fifth inning that allowed a second run to score.

Raul Ibanez, batting .370 with seven homers during an 11-game

hit streak, is 0 for 11 with four strikeouts all-time versus Latos,

his worst showing against any active pitcher. Brendan Ryan is 5 for

7 with a double against Latos.

Shin-Soo Choo has the most experience against Bonderman among

Reds players, going 4 for 13 with three doubles and a home run.

Choo’s RBI double in the fifth inning Friday was one of four

Cincinnati hits with two outs.

The Reds entered the game last in the major leagues with a .178

average with runners in scoring position and two outs.

“We have to get some two-out hits,” manager Dusty Baker told the

team’s official website. “We had some action. It’s kind of been

haunting us all year.”