TORONTO – The Mariners dynamic duo at the top of their rotation was on display during two victories against the Blue Jays on Friday and Saturday.
Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma took turns dominating Toronto hitters in 4-0 and 8-1 wins.
Manager Eric Wedge has had a dominant 1-2 starting tandem before – CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee in Cleveland when he managed the Indians.
“It takes some time to get to that point,” Wedge said before Sunday’s 10-2 loss to the Blue Jays. “And it took us a little bit of time in Cleveland, and it has here, too. But when you have people at the top of your rotation that you can count on, it’s going to keep coming around. What I mean by that is, from a position player’s standpoint or the other pitchers or the bullpen, you know that every three or four days that those guys are going to be out there and that’s going to go a long way.”
Having two pitchers like that also saves the bullpen. Hernandez has gone eight innings in three of his past four starts, including Friday.
“I love the fact that he doesn’t assume anything, he knows
he has to go out there and do the work in between his starts,” Wedge said. “That’s one of the many reasons why he is who he is.”
Hernandez and Iwakuma are a combined 7-3 with an earned-run average of 1.605 in 14 starts. Hernandez is 4-2, 1.60 and Iwakuma is 3-1, 1.61….The Mariners have days off on the schedule Monday and Thursday and that will allow 22-year-old Brandon Maurer to have a breather. He has not started since April 30, a 7-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. His next start will be Friday against the Oakland Athletics. “We’re trying to manage his innings and when we have opportunities to do that, we are going to do that,” Wedge said. “Just pushing him back.” … After giving up seven runs in five innings in Sunday’s 10-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, Joe Saunders is 0-4 with a 12.54 earned-run average on the road and is 2-0 with a 0.81 ERA at Safeco Field. “He’s typically actually pitched better on the road,” Wedge said. “I just think it’s somewhat of a fluke thing right now. It’s gained a little bit of momentum and we’ve got to stop it. He knows how to pitch but he has to hit his spots, work in and out, up and down, and make the baseball do what he wants to do with it. Obviously last time was great example of that (against the Orioles). So he’s right there.”
It is the first time in his career that Saunders has opened a season at 0-4 on the road. But he has had a longer road losing string, dropping 11 consecutive road decisions between June 20, 2010 and May 24, 2011 In his career, Saunders is 39-34 with a 4.47 earned-average at home and is 41-35 with a 3.94 ERA on the road.. ..Jason Bay was 0-for-4 on Sunday to end a seven-game hit streak. … ..….Sunday’s game was the first time this season that the Mariners have allowed 10 runs this season and their three hits was a season low. The loss snapped a season-high three-game winning streak (done twice). …Third baseman Kyle Seager doubled in the first inning on Sunday and has hit in 10 of his past 11 games against Toronto dating back to last season. During that span he is batting .462 with seven extra-base hits. He is batting .500 (7-for-14) with three doubles and a home run in his career against Morrow…The Mariners have Monday off then play twice at Pittsburgh where they will start Aaron Harang (1-3, 6.46 ERA) and Felix Hernandez (4-2, 1.60 ERA) against James McDonald (2-2, 5.76 ERA) and A.J. Burnett (3-2, 2.57).