Standout right-hander Felix Hernandez can continue a career's worth of high-end performance against the Cleveland Indians tonight when the Seattle Mariners open a two-game series at Progressive Field.
A 26-year-old Venezuelan with 88 wins in 213 big-league starts, Hernandez is 5-3 in 11 career meetings with Cleveland and carries a stingy 2.49 earned run average across 72 1/3 innings of work.
He was effective, albeit unlucky, in his most recent start against the Indians on April 19 in Seattle, tossing eight scoreless innings of five-hit ball with a season-high 12 strikeouts in a game the Mariners ultimately lost, 2-1.
He's won two of three decisions in five 2012 starts since, but was touched for 11 hits and four runs by the New York Yankees in a May 11 loss in the Bronx that upped his ERA from 1.89 to 2.29.
For Cleveland, righty Ubaldo Jimenez makes his 19th start since last season's trade deadline deal that brought him over from the Colorado Rockies.
The 28-year-old Dominican was 4-4 with the Indians in 11 starts to close 2011 and is 3-3 in seven outings so far this year, including a 7-5 loss at Boston in his last start on May 11.
In that game, Jimenez lasted just 4 1/3 innings and allowed seven runs on nine hits while walking four.
Five days earlier, he went seven scoreless innings against a powerful Texas lineup and allowed just two hits in a 4-2 victory.
He's faced Seattle just once in 155 big-league starts and emerged with a win after allowing four runs on eight hits in a complete nine-inning effort.
On Tuesday in Boston, Josh Beckett tossed seven scoreless innings and Mike Aviles contributed two hits and two RBI as Boston shut down Seattle, 5-0, in the last of a two-game series from Fenway Park.
Blake Beavan (1-4) was charged with five hits and three runs over just four innings for the Mariners, who have dropped four of five on their 10-game road trip.
In Minnesota, Derek Lowe tossed a shutout, scattering six hits while walking four, to lead the Indians to a 5-0 win over the Twins in the finale of a short two-game series at Target Field.
Despite failing to record a strikeout Lowe (6-1) was able to earn his first shutout since he blanked the Cubs in 2005.
Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana each doubled and hit solo homers, while Asdrubal Cabrera added a solo homer and two RBI for the Tribe, winners of two straight. Casey Kotchman also added an RBI.
Cleveland won two of three matchups with Seattle from April 17-19.