They’ll have to break it without him in the starting lineup.
With their All-Star designated hitter relegated to pinch-hitting duties, the Mariners go for their 11th straight road win when they take on the Philadelphia Phillies in the opener of a three-game set.
Seattle has won 10 in a row away from home, equaling the team mark set last season. The Mariners have not lost a road game since May 14 at Cleveland, and that’s their only loss in their last 15 on the road.
The Mariners have won a season-high six in a row to open a 12-game road trip, with the next six games being in NL parks.
Martinez is not expected to appear on defense in this series or in this weekend’s three-game set against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. He has appeared in the field in just three games over the last three-plus seasons— none since June 12, 2001 at Colorado.
That leaves a big hole in Seattle’s offense, considering Martinez is third in the AL with 47 RBIs, sixth with a .328 batting average and tied for sixth with 14 home runs.
During the 10-game road winning streak, Martinez has batted .381 (16-for-42) with six homers and 17 RBIs while scoring 10 runs.
Taking his place in the order will be another 40-year-old, but left-hander Jamie Moyer has only three hits in 23 at-bats over the last 15 years.
Moyer, however, has been very good on the mound lately.
After going 3-2 in April, Moyer won all five of his starts in May while posting a 3.26 ERA. He held Kansas City to two runs and four hits over seven innings in Wednesday’s 5-2 victory.
“The way I look at pitching, you’re only as good as your offense and your defense,” Moyer said. “I have to rely on my defense a lot. I’m not a power pitcher. I’m not a strikeout pitcher.”
His solid outings have helped Seattle win 13 of 16 to take over the best record in the majors.
Moyer will be opposed by Kevin Millwood, providing the best pitching matchup of Tuesday’s interleague openers. Moyer is tied for the AL lead with eight victories, and Millwood is among the NL leaders with seven.
Millwood won five straight decisions before losing Thursday, 5-0 to the New York Mets. He gave up three runs or fewer for the eighth consecutive start and lasted at least seven innings for the fifth straight time.
The Phillies had lost three straight series before pulling off a three-game sweep of the Montreal Expos over the weekend.
STANDINGS: Mariners - 1st place, AL West. Phillies - 3rd place, 6 GB, NL East.
MARINERS PROBABLE STARTER: Moyer (8-2, 3.55 ERA). Moyer is 4-8 with a 6.26 ERA lifetime against Philadelphia. However, he gave up just seven earned runs in 26 2-3 interleague innings last year, going 2-2.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Millwood (7-2, 2.93 ERA). Thursday’s loss was the first since April 17 for the ace right-hander, who is just 2-2 in six starts at home. Millwood, who has never faced Seattle, went 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA in four interleague starts last season.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mariners - Martinez, .328 avg. and 47 RBIs; Bret Boone, 15 HRs and 47 runs; Ichiro Suzuki, 11 SBs. Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .321 avg.; Jim Thome, 12 HRs and 42 RBIs; Jimmy Rollins, 38 runs and 7 SBs.
2002 INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Mariners - 11-7; Phillies - 10-8.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Mariners - 3B Martinez’s .351 interleague batting average is fifth-highest all-time. … 2B Boone has hit .375 (12-for-32) with four homers and 10 RBIs over the last seven games. … Seattle has averaged 7.7 runs over its last 10 road games. Phillies - 1B Thome has 71 RBIs in interleague play, fifth-most of any player in the majors. … With his next save, RHP Jose Mesa will tie Steve Bedrosian for the Phillies’ all-time record. Mesa saved both games in Sunday’s doubleheader to give him 102 with Philadelphia, tying Mitch Williams for second place. … LF Pat Burrell, in a 2-for-22 slump, has struck out eight times in his last 18 at-bats. He’s third in the NL with 66 strikeouts.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mariners - 20-7 on the road; Phillies - 16-11 at home.