Mariners-Indians Preview

The Associated PressMay 16, 2012

The Seattle Mariners' offense has been stagnant recently, much like the last time Felix Hernandez took the mound against the Cleveland Indians.

Hernandez looks to bounce back from a rough outing when Seattle seeks its fifth victory in the last six road meetings with Cleveland in the opener of a two-game set Wednesday night.

Seattle has scored two runs or fewer in five of its last six games after falling 5-0 to Boston on Tuesday. The Mariners (16-22), whose .233 batting average is among the worst in the AL, have lost four of those contests.

Seattle has gone 6 for 72 (.083) with runners in scoring position while dropping 10 of its last 11 road games.

Ichiro Suzuki went 2 for 4 on Tuesday to raise his average to .296, but he's only hitting .206 with runners in scoring position.

"He's the one veteran guy we have in the lineup and we need him to help pick up these young kids," manager Eric Wedge told the team's official website.

Hernandez (3-2, 2.29 ERA) struck out a season-high 12 in eight scoreless innings April 19 against Cleveland, but he didn't earn a decision in a 2-1 loss. He's 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in his last three starts against the Indians.

The right-hander, though, allowed four runs and a season-high 11 hits in a 6-2 loss to New York on Friday after he had given up four runs in his previous five starts combined.

Hernandez will look to rebound against an Indians team that took two of three at Seattle from April 17-19.

Cleveland (20-16) finds itself atop the AL Central early in the season for the second straight year, and it's coming off a two-game sweep of Minnesota after a 5-0 victory Tuesday.

Asdrubal Cabrera homered and Shin-Soo Choo added a homer and a double for the Indians, who went 3-3 on their road trip.

After a slow start, Choo is batting .302 in his last 13 games.

"He's one of our key guys in our lineup," manager Manny Acta told the team's official website. "In order for us to go anywhere, he needs to produce. That's how important he is to our lineup."

Acta's also looking for better control from scheduled starter Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 5.18).

Jimenez is coming off his worst outing of the season, giving up seven runs and walking five in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-5 loss to Boston on Friday. He has walked 30 - most in the majors - compared to 24 strikeouts.

"We're just working on his mechanics so he can repeat his delivery and be more consistent in the strike zone," Acta said. "He still has pretty good stuff and he can get people out."

The right-hander pitched a complete game in a 6-4 victory June 12, 2009, while with Colorado in his only career starts versus Seattle.

Johnny Damon went 0 for 3 with a walk Tuesday and is hitting .149 in 12 games since joining the Indians. The veteran, though, is 11 for 22 with a homer and four doubles off Hernandez.