Undergirding this surprisingly strong start by the Seattle Mariners was their ability to avoid a losing skid of more than two games entering the second contest of their four-game set in Houston.
That run came to an end via Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to the Houston Astros, one in which the Mariners mustered only two hits off Houston starter Cristian Javier and zero base runners against the bullpen tandem of Brooks Raley and Ryan Pressly.
In Monday’s opener, the Mariners managed just two solo home runs in a 5-2 loss. They are 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position this series.
“This happens throughout the course of the season,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “You’re going to have a couple games like this through small stretches.
“Not worried about this club at all, I’m really not. Our club comes in with a great attitude every day. They’re working hard. It happens. It does have a way of turning and turning real quick. We’ll be out here (Wednesday) ready to get after it.”
The Mariners turn to right-hander Justin Dunn (1-0, 3.68 ERA) to try to snap their first three-game slide on Wednesday in Houston.
Dunn did not factor into the decision of his previous start after allowing two runs on six hits and one walk with five strikeouts over five innings in the Mariners’ 7-3 win at Boston on Thursday. He notched his lone victory over the Baltimore Orioles on April 15, allowing one run on two hits and two walks with six strikeouts over five innings.
Dunn worked two scoreless innings in his lone start against Houston on Sept. 24, 2019.
Right-hander Zack Greinke (2-1, 2.76 ERA) will start for the Astros. He scattered 10 hits over seven innings against the Los Angeles Angels in his last start, allowing two runs in the Astros’ 5-4 victory. Greinke tossed 107 pitches, his most in a start since 2019.
In 17 career games against the Mariners, Greinke is 8-2 with a sparkling 2.09 ERA. On April 17, he tossed eight shutout innings at Seattle, allowing four hits with six strikeouts in a 1-0 victory.
Astros left-hander Framber Valdez remains ahead of schedule in regard to his return to the rotation. Valdez, on the injured list with a fractured left index finger, has yet to pitch this season.
Valdez enjoyed a breakout campaign with Houston last season, going 5-3 with a 3.57 ERA over 11 appearances (10 starts) while amassing 76 strikeouts against 16 walks over 70 2/3 innings. He was expected to be a key cog in the rotation prior to his injury and the Astros would most certainly welcome an early return, particularly with veteran right-hander Jake Odorizzi landing on the IL with a right pronator muscle strain on April 25.
“This is a real boost for us, especially in light of the Odorizzi situation,” Astros pitching coach Brent Strom said. “Getting Framber back as soon as possible would really be a boost to this club. I know the whole infield would love to see it. The entire team would love to have one of our leaders back.”
–Field Level Media