Philadelphia (44-27) at Seattle (36-34)

Cloudy Currently: Seattle, WA
Temp: 42° F
  • Game info: 10:10 pm EDT Sat Jun 18, 2011
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Coming off a Cy Young Award-winning 2010, Seattle’s Felix Hernandez(notes) hasn’t been overly impressive thus far.

There doesn’t seem to be any reason, however, to be too concerned.

In his first appearance against the Philadelphia Phillies, Hernandez looks to continue his dominance over the NL on Saturday night at Safeco Field.

Hernandez (7-5, 3.30 ERA) is tied for eighth in the AL in wins but his ERA ranks 19th. He finished his memorable 2010 season with a major league-best 2.27 ERA for the Mariners (36-34).

Hernandez labored a bit against Detroit on Sunday, allowing three runs, nine hits and five walks in eight innings of a 7-3 win. It was the second time in four starts the Seattle staff ace walked five batters.

“Walks have been killing me,” Hernandez said. “I’ve been throwing a lot of walks in the last couple games so I’ve just got to figure it out, get ahead of the hitters and make good pitches.”

Although Hernandez has allowed at least four runs in six of his starts - matching his 2010 total - there’s reason to believe he can get things turned around.

Hernandez was in similar position a year ago. On June 18 last season, the right-hander was 4-5 with a 3.61 ERA. He posted a 1.45 ERA the rest of the season, as interleague play helped him get on track.

In 12 games against the NL since 2008, Hernandez is 7-1 with an interleague-best 1.66 ERA. He has struck out 94 in 92 innings while walking 14.

He’ll be facing a Phillies team that had trouble offensively in Friday’s opener against rookie Michael Pineda(notes).

Philadelphia (44-27) didn’t get its first hit until there were two outs in the sixth inning and ended up losing 4-2, its first defeat in eight games. Shane Victorino(notes) broke up the no-hit bid with a single and Chase Utley(notes) followed with a run-scoring base hit for the NL East-leading Phillies.

Seattle is one-half game back of Texas in the AL West, and the Mariners have a chance to be in first place this late in the season since Aug. 26, 2003, with a victory and a Rangers loss to Atlanta.

Highly touted rookie Dustin Ackley(notes) singled in his first major league at-bat in the second inning Friday, while two-time AL batting champ Ichiro Suzuki(notes) finished with three hits for his sixth straight multihit game. Suzuki has raised his average 23 points to .275 during this stretch.

“His timing is better, his direction is better and it has paid off for him and us,” manager Eric Wedge said.

Miguel Olivo(notes) also contributed with his 11th homer of the season - his seventh in the last 13 games.

“Everyone handled themselves appropriately,” Wedge said.

Wedge’s team now faces Vance Worley(notes) (2-1, 3.75), whom the Phillies have called up from the minors.

Worley was sent to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after being tagged for eight runs - five earned - and 12 hits in three innings of a 9-5 loss to the New York Mets on May 29. The right-hander was 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA in his first three starts for the Phillies.

Worley has looked solid since being sent to the minors, going 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three starts while striking out 21 in 19 innings.

“It was better for me to do it down there than up here,” he told the Phillies’ official website. “I think I would’ve been more stressed out if I would’ve had a rough outing like that again.”

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Starting Pitchers

V. Worley Bal vs. F. Hernández Sea
11-3 Record 14-14
3.01 ERA 3.47
119 K 222
46 BB 67
1.23 WHIP 1.22


Saturday, Jun 18