A pair of young starters will duke it out Saturday when Jarrod Parker and the Oakland Athletics take on rookie Brandon Maurer and the Seattle Mariners.
On Friday night, the Mariners got out to a 6-0 lead after five innings and a late rally from the Athletics fell short as Seattle earned a 6-3 victory.
Hisashi Iwakuma continued his brilliant start to the season for the Mariners as he allowed just two runs on four hits in seven innings while striking out nine batters en route to his fourth win. Tom Wilhelmsen then pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 10th save.
Raul Ibanez had just one hit in the contest but it was a big one as his three- run home run in the third inning proved particularly crucial. Seattle is 5-2 during the month after going just 12-17 in April.
Dan Straily was unable to match Iwakuma as Oakland's starter. Straily allowed six runs on six hits and four walks over five innings to take his first loss in his fourth appearance of the season.
John Jaso went 2-for-4 for the Athletics and was the only player on the squad to record more than one hit. Jed Lowrie had a two-run double and Derek Norris hit his first home run of the season as well for Oakland, which is suffering through a five-game skid.
Looking to recapture the success he had in his rookie season a year ago, Parker will try to break out of a tough start to the season when he gets the start for Oakland on Saturday.
A year ago Parker was an important part of a surprisingly potent Athletics' rotation when he went 13-8 with an ERA of 3.47. This season has gone vastly different with the former first-round draft pick owning just a record of 1-5 and an ERA of 7.34 in seven starts.
Obviously keeping runners of base has been a problem for Parker, who has a WHIP of 1.981. Much of that is due to his control issues as he has five wild pitches this season, which is tied for the second most in the majors.
In his most recent start, Parker gave up four runs all on solo home runs while working through just five innings on his way to his fifth loss of the season.
Parker faced Oakland in his first start of the season and took his first loss in a 7-1 decision. He allowed four runs over five innings in the loss. The right-hander is 1-2 with an ERA of 5.94 in three career starts against Seattle.
Youth will be the theme in starting pitchers on Saturday as 22-year-old Maurer gets the ball for the Mariners.
The first six starts of Maurer's career have not gone very well. Maurer is 2-4 with an ERA of 6.07 on the season with his best outing coming against Los Angeles on April 25 when he pitched shutout baseball over 6 1/3 innings to pick up his second win. Last time out he didn't get past the fourth inning in taking a loss in a 7-2 decision against Baltimore.
Maurer will be making his second-career start against Oakland. The 22-year-old made his debut against the Athletics in early April when he allowed six runs on eight hits over six innings of work.
These two division foes split the four-game series they played to open the season. Last year Oakland took wins in 12 of the 19 total matchups.