Felix Hernandez tries to continue his road mastery of the New York Yankees this evening when the Seattle Mariners open a three-game set against them at Yankee Stadium.
It actually hasn't mattered where Hernandez has pitched this season, as the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner has been dominant, allowing two runs or less in six of his seven starts this season, while going 3-1 with a 1.89 earned run average.
Hernandez was sensational in beating the Minnesota Twins on Saturday, as he allowed just one hit over eight scoreless innings. He also struck out nine batters and walked a pair.
"Just vintage Felix," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "Just mixing his pitches and doing a good job of working ahead for the most part."
Hernandez has been terrific in the Bronx over the course of his career, posting a 4-1 mark to go along with a 1.96 ERA. He's also given up just one run, 11 hits and has struck out 27 in 24 innings while winning all three of his starts at the new Yankee Stadium. For his career, though, Hernandez is 6-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 11 starts versus the Yanks.
Seattle could use a big start from its ace, as it tries to snap a six-game road losing streak. The Mariners, though, enter this series red-hot after taking two of three from the Detroit Tigers following a 2-1 win at Safeco Field on Wednesday.
John Jaso knocked in the deciding run in the bottom of the eighth inning of that one, while Jason Vargas (4-2) tossed eight strong innings, allowing one run on five hits for the Mariners, who won for the fourth time in five games overall.
"Vargas was fantastic tonight," Wedge said. "Even the inning they scored one run, [Detroit had] a couple of jam shots, but he did a great job of controlling the ball game."
New York comes into tonight's opener following a series win as well after CC Sabathia outdueled Tampa Bay ace David Price on Wednesday, as the Yankees downed the Rays, 5-3, in the rubber match of their three-game set.
Sabathia (5-0) gave up an unearned run in each of the first two innings but then dominated over the next six frames, scattering seven hits with 10 strikeouts and one walk.
"I go out there with the intention of winning every game," said Sabathia. "You know, this was the rubber game and I was going up against a tough guy, so I just wanted to pitch as well as I could."
Curtis Granderson hit his 11th home run of the season and Robinson Cano added a two-run shot for the Yankees, who have won three of four.
New York will rely tonight on Japanese righty Hiroki Kuroda, who has lost three of his last four starts. Kuroda was defeated by Kansas City on Saturday, as he allowed three runs (two earned) and six hits in only 4 1/3 innings. He also walked three batters and fell to 2-4 to go along with a 3.75 ERA.
"My role as a starter is to go as deep as I can into the game, and at least I wanted to go seven," Kuroda said through a translator following his last start. "But I couldn't do that, so it was really frustrating."
Kuroda lost his only start to the Mariners.
The Yankees were 5-4 against Seattle last season.