Mariners-Yankees Preview


Two weeks ago, Felix Hernandez re-established his success against the New York Yankees.

Hiroki Kuroda, meanwhile, has dominated the Seattle Mariners so far this year.

Two of the hottest pitchers in baseball are scheduled to face each other Saturday when Kuroda and the AL East-leading Yankees attempt to beat Hernandez and the Mariners again in the Bronx.

Hernandez (9-5, 2.79 ERA), the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner, is 6-2 with a 2.48 ERA in his last nine starts against New York (62-43). That includes a 1.47 ERA while winning three of four games at Yankee Stadium.

The right-hander earned a 4-2 home win over the Yankees on July 24, yielding two runs and four hits in 7 1-3 innings. He had lost the previous two outings, including one in New York versus Kuroda on May 11, surrendering four runs and 11 hits with seven strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-2 defeat.

Hernandez has been outstanding entering this visit, going 5-0 with a 1.60 ERA in nine starts.

He was in position to win again Sunday, allowing two runs in seven innings before the bullpen gave up four runs in the final two of a 7-6 win over Kansas City.

Kuroda (10-7, 3.28) will take the mound looking for another strong performance against Hernandez after beating him in May by allowing two runs in seven innings. The right-hander followed that with a sharp outing at Seattle (50-58) on July 23, striking out nine while yielding one run and three hits in seven innings of a 4-1 victory.

He has a personal four-game winning streak and is 7-1 with a 2.46 ERA over his last 12 starts. Kuroda was strong again Sunday, allowing two runs in eight innings of a 3-2 loss in 10 against Boston.

"Usually with this offense you're going to get some good results, but it just didn't happen," Kuroda said through a translator.

That offense has delivered while winning seven of nine at home against Seattle, hitting .291 with 13 homers while averaging 6.1 runs.

The Yankees collected 12 hits with three doubles and a two-run homer from Eric Chavez to spur Friday's 6-3 win over the Mariners in the opener of this three-game set. That performance came two days after the lineup pounded out 15 hits with two homers in a 12-3 win over Baltimore, ending a four-game skid.

Ichiro Suzuki has hit safely in all 10 games since New York acquired him in a trade from Seattle last month. Despite the run, he has a .250 average with one double, one homer, two RBIs, four runs and three stolen bases in that stretch.

The face of the Mariners' franchise for 11-plus years, Suzuki is 4 for 16 in four meetings with his former team, and went 1 for 2 with a double off Hernandez, who also hit him with a pitch.

Robinson Cano has had impressive success against the Mariners ace, hitting .378 with two homers in 37 at-bats. He's 5 for 10 with two homers and seven RBIs in the past three games after getting two hits and plating one run Friday.

Seattle had its season-high seven-game winning streak halted Friday, but Dustin Ackley is showing improvement by hitting .313 with two homers and seven RBIs in eight games.

He's 9 for 27 with two homers and six RBIs in seven visits to Yankee Stadium, including a two-run shot Friday.