Joe Saunders (3-4 5.64) is like jeckyl and hyde when it comes to pitching venues home and away in his career. While unbeaten in 9 starts career wise at Safeco, he will look to win his 10th career tonight where over the years it has been deemed not nearly as much of a cathedral for a ballpark. Seattle has moved in at least one section of the fences in every corner, and that may not prove as favorable for the left hander despite an ERA under 2 at Safeco. Saunders in contrast has lost all 4 of his starts on the road with an ERA flirting with 12.
Another aspect of Saunders perhaps having to be a bit more selective on his pitches this evening is facing a Texas lineup who collectively is hitting .268 and second in the majors with 60 HR and averaging nearly 4.7 runs per contest. While Nelson Cruz (.249 11 33) hasn't been as consistent as most would expect, he does lead the Rangers in HR and RBI. Lance Berkman (.296 3 25) may not show as much power compared to in his prime but has given Texas some clutch hitting in key situations. Mitch Moreland and Adrian Beltre each have hit 10 long balls and it's only a matter of time before David Murphy (.219 6 19) shakes off his early season misfortunes.
Texas counters with rookie Justin Grimm (3-3, 4.02), who faces the Mariners for a third time already this season recording a win and a no-decision against them. Grimm owns a 5.14 road ERA as opposed to 2.79 at home. Seattle can really use a lift offensively as they've lost 6 straight falling 10 games behind Texas in the AL West. The Mariners are hitting just .239 but have slugged 53 HR although their acquisiiton demoting catcher Jesus Montero yesterday could be a sign of a shakeup with more dealings forthcoming. Kendrys Morales (.281 5 21) leads the team in hitting and Kyle Seager (.275 6 22) is tops in RBI. However after a great start, Michael Morse (.244 10 18) has been mired in a bit of a slump as of late with most of his team leading HR coming visa the solo variety. Tonight may be a strong opportunity for Grimm to turn the tide on his road doldrums.
We get a bit of a dicey price this evening, but we like our chances this evening especially with Texas full of heavy hitters up and down their lineup. While Saunders has looked unbeatable at Safeco, he like his counterpart in Grimm has an ERA over nearly 7 through his last 16 IP. The Mariners have been long overdue to put some consistent offensive numbers in a string of games. Unfortunately a few more losses will make things more challenging as we are in the midst of the quarter point of the season not to mention perhaps putting Eric Wedge on the hot seat. Best of luck however you play!