Offensive woes have plagued Seattle and Baltimore for much of the season. While these listless lineups have relegated both clubs to the bottom of their respective divisions, the Mariners’ offense finally showed some signs of life over the weekend.
Coming off its highest-scoring game in three weeks, Seattle looks to build on its first win of the month as it opens a three-game series against the Orioles on Tuesday night at Camden Yards.
After plating 12 runs and hitting .173 during an eight-game losing streak, the Mariners (12-19) fired hitting coach Alan Cockrell on Sunday morning. Hours later, Seattle responded to this shakeup by matching a season high with 12 hits in an 8-1 win over Los Angeles.
Josh Wilson(notes) and Michael Saunders(notes) led the way Sunday with back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning. It was the first multihomer game for Seattle, which has a major league-worst 12 home runs on the season.
The Mariners, who scored their most runs since an 8-2 win over the Orioles (9-23) on April 19, are also last in the AL in runs (102) and slugging percentage (.326).
Baltimore’s offense hasn’t been performing much better.
The Orioles, who were swept in a three-game series in Seattle from April 19-21, are last in the AL in on-base percentage (.305) and have scored the majors’ fourth-fewest runs (107). Baltimore has scored two runs or fewer in five of its last seven games, and is coming off Sunday’s 6-0 loss to Minnesota - the 10th time it’s scored one or no runs.
“I think sometimes guys start pressing because we know that expectations are a lot higher than what we’re showing right now,” left fielder Nolan Reimold(notes) told the Orioles’ official website. “I guess the big thing is to stop pressing and let the game come to you.”
Lee, who started the year on the disabled list while recovering from an abdominal strain, looked stellar in his season debut, allowing three hits and striking out eight in seven scoreless innings in a 2-0, 12-inning loss to Texas on April 30. In his second outing against Tampa Bay on Wednesday, the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner gave up two runs through seven innings before yielding three more in the eighth. He ended up allowing 10 hits in an 8-3 loss.
Lee has never opened a season without a win in his first three starts.
The left-hander seems to have a good chance of getting his first victory with the Mariners on Tuesday, considering he’s 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four career starts against the Orioles.
Since beating Oakland on Aug. 11, Hernandez is 0-10 with a 6.84 ERA in 15 starts. This includes a loss in Seattle on April 20, when the right-hander gave up three runs and seven hits in a season-high 6 1-3 innings of a 3-1 defeat. He is 0-2 with a 5.09 ERA in three career starts against the Mariners.
Hernandez is coming off his worst outing of the season, yielding six runs and six hits - including two homers - in 3 2-3 innings of Wednesday’s 7-5 loss to New York.