Mariners unleash King Felix on Athletics
(SportsNetwork.com) - Felix Hernandez will be seeking revenge against the only team that has battled him to a no-decision this season as the Seattle Mariners host the Oakland Athletics in the final portion of a three-game series at Safeco Field.
King Felix is a perfect 5-0 to start the season, but he'll have to battle against Jesse Chavez, who has kept his earned run average to a minimum for Oakland.
Chavez has made seven appearances in 2015, but not all have been starts. The former bullpen arm was moved into the rotation three outings ago, and has gone 1-2 in that span with a 1.80 ERA. He's coming off his best game in which he lasted 7 1/3 innings against the Twins, allowing one unearned run on four hits as his Athletics picked up the 2-1 victory. Chavez fanned seven batters in the contest.
The 31-year-old righty has appeared in 12 games against Seattle in his career, with only three starts. He's 0-2 lifetime against the Mariners, but owns a respectable 2.48 ERA in 29 innings pitched.
Despite his utter dominance throughout his career already, this is the first time Hernandez has opened a season with a 5-0 record. He's tied for the MLB lead in wins entering the weekend, and is right up near the top of each statistical category with a 1.73 ERA and 44 strikeouts in six starts.
Hernandez was his usual self on Monday against the Angels. He lasted seven innings, allowing six hits and one earned run (a solo homer) with eight strikeouts. He's picked up a win in four consecutive starts.
In 36 career starts against the Athletics, Hernandez is 19-7 with a 2.64 ERA, 234 strikeouts and 66 walks. At home this season, Hernandez is 3-0 in three starts with a 0.78 ERA and one shutout.
Hernandez is five strikeouts away from hitting 2,000 in his career. He will be the fourth-youngest player to reach the milestone if he can achieve it Sunday. He also has more career wins against Oakland (19) than any other team he's faced.
The Mariners cruised to a 7-2 win on Saturday night behind a strong start by J.A. Happ on the mound and a powerful performance by Robinson Cano at the plate.
Happ picked up his third win of the season after surrendering just four hits and one run in five innings of work. He also struck out eight batters.
Cano went 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. He provided his RBI in the sixth inning with a single to center field that pushed the Mariners' lead at the time to 6-1. Seattle plated the final run of the night in the eighth on a Fernando Abad wild pitch, allowing Justin Ruggiano to score.
Jesse Hahn was roughed up in his start for the A's, allowing six runs (four earned) on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings pitched. He was hit with his third loss of the season in his first year with Oakland.
Billy Butler and Mark Canha provided the runs for the Athletics in the loss, while Marcus Semien went 3-for-4. The team will be trying to avoid a five-game losing streak Sunday.
Seattle's series lead over Oakland this season has stretched to 4-1.