Strong starting pitching sparked Seattle’s best run of the season. Brandon Morrow has only made one start, but he perhaps best represents the Mariners’ hopes for continued success.
After coming close to a no-hitter in his first major league start, Morrow again takes the mound for the Mariners when they complete a two-game set with the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.
Seattle lost 7-3 to Texas on Tuesday night, but it entered the series having won 10 of 15. Mariners starters posted a 3.23 ERA during that stretch.
This has been an unusually successful run for Seattle (56-87), which has the American League’s worst record. The Mariners, trying to build momentum for next season, will look to continue their success.
In one start, Morrow (2-2, 1.42 ERA) gave Seattle’s hopes for 2009 a big boost. The fifth pick in the 2006 draft, Morrow on Friday night came within four outs of joining Bobo Holloman as the only pitchers since 1900 to throw no-hitters in their first major league starts.
After 100 relief appearances in two seasons, Morrow pitched 7 2-3 hitless innings before pinch-hitter Wilson Betemit doubled with two outs in the eighth in Seattle’s 3-1 win over the New York Yankees.
The 24-year-old right-hander struck out eight and walked three, showing outstanding zip on his fastball and good control of his curveball.
Morrow is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in four appearances against the Rangers this season, and 1-1 with a 0.69 ERA in 10 career appearances against them.
Texas (71-74) will counter with Kevin Millwood (9-8, 5.01), who had a personal three-game winning streak end in his last start. He allowed seven runs - six earned - and nine hits in six innings as Texas lost 8-1 to Boston on Friday night.
The right-hander had a 1.46 ERA during his winning streak, including two complete games.
Millwood, though, has lost four straight starts against Seattle, posting a 5.47 ERA. He is 7-8 with a 4.51 ERA in 17 career starts against the Mariners.
Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki is batting .407 (22-for-54) against Millwood, but he’s hitting .166 (2-for-12) in his last three games overall.
Seattle has lost four straight at home against Texas, batting .180 while averaging one run per game. The Rangers, meanwhile, have scored 24 runs in those contests.
Texas went 5-for-19 with runners in scoring position in this series’ opener, winning for the fifth time in eight games.
But designated hitter Milton Bradley left the game in the first inning after taking just one swing. The Rangers said Bradley strained a muscle in his lower back and is day-to-day.
He was replaced by Brandon Boggs, who went 0-for-5. Bradley is hitting .327 with 22 homers and 74 RBIs.
Catcher Taylor Teagarden had three RBIs to help compensate for Bradley’s absence. Rangers manager Ron Washington, however, is more concerned with the rookie’s approach behind the plate.
“What he hits is not important to me,” Washington said. “It’s how he gets the pitchers through innings is what’s important to me. … But there are times he’s going to go up there and get big hits for you. He’s not just an out.”