The Seattle Mariners may be so happy just to get out of Cleveland, even the prospect of a three-game series at Fenway Park—a venue where they’ve struggled in recent years—could be a welcome relief.
Almost a week after their last official game, the Mariners hope the weather in Boston is more cooperative than what they just saw in the Midwest as they meet the Red Sox on Tuesday.
A storm system in Cleveland over the weekend led to the cancellation of Seattle’s entire four-game set with the Indians.
The Mariners (2-1) haven’t played a game that counted since Wednesday in a 9-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics. On Friday, the team opened its series at Cleveland, but cold and snow led to the game being called after four innings— one strike away from being an official game. Attempts at playing a doubleheader on Saturday, Sunday and Monday all were unsuccessful.
“The only thing I can say is that you can’t fight against Mother Nature,” pitcher Miguel Batista told the Mariners’ official Web site. “It’s like Al Capone used to say: ‘I would bet against anything but the weather.’”
Tuesday’s contest will be the home opener for the Red Sox (3-3), who have won 13 of these clubs’ 17 meetings at Fenway Park since 2002—including three of four last season.
While the weather doesn’t appear to be an issue for the 2:05 p.m local start with a forecast of temperatures in the mid-40s and cloudy skies, the question may be how the long layoff has impacted Seattle’s players.
Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said on Sunday he didn’t anticipate that being a factor.
“You hate to miss playing time, but we’re getting our work in,” he said. “Baseball was meant to be played, not practiced, so you hate to lose that. It’s no more than that.”
Tuesday will be Jeff Weaver’s fourth attempt at a debut with the Mariners after his expected starts on Saturday, Sunday and Monday were all thwarted by the weather.
Weaver signed a one-year, $8.325 million contract with Seattle after spending last season with the Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis. The right-hander became the pitcher with the highest regular-season ERA—5.76—to clinch a World Series championship as he helped the Cardinals to their first title since 1982.
Weaver is 3-4 with a 6.07 ERA in 13 appearances—including 11 starts— against the Red Sox.
Boston will counter with Josh Beckett (1-0, 1.80 ERA), who also pitched last season’s home opener. The right-hander went five innings on Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals, allowing one run and two hits in a 7-1 win. He walked four and struck out five.
Beckett is 1-1 with a 5.27 ERA in two starts against the Mariners.
After dropping the first two games of its series against Texas, Boston salvaged the finale with a 3-2 win on Sunday. David Ortiz hit two home runs to drive in all three runs, breaking out of a 2-for-18 slump, while starter Curt Schilling allowed one run and four hits over seven innings.
Closer Jonathan Papelbon entered the game with two runners on in the eighth and got five straight outs, striking out three, for his second save of the season.
“The way it finished was awesome. That’s just an unbelievable job,” Schilling said. “That’s the definition of a tough save. … Very few guys can get that result. He’s one of them.”
The Red Sox have won their last two home openers but have lost five straight matchups with the Mariners—all in Seattle.