The Seattle Mariners may not have many answers as to why they have fared so much better on the road than at home, but Felix Hernandez’s dominance has rarely ever been in question. The Mariners, who open a nine-game homestand Tuesday with the first of two contests versus the Atlanta Braves, own the American League’s third-best winning percentage away from home (.574). However, Seattle’s 26-31 record at Safeco Field is the worst home mark in the majors for a team with a winning record.
“I don't get it; everything has been backward for us. We've played bad at home; we've played well on the road,” manager Lloyd McClendon told reporters about his Mariners (57-54), who are 10½ games back in the AL West. Hernandez has been the model of consistency, breaking Tom Seaver’s major-league record with his 14th consecutive start in which he allowed two or fewer runs and worked at least seven innings in his last outing. The Braves (58-54), who are 3½ games out of first in the National League East, fell to 0-6 on their eight-game road trip over the weekend after consecutive walk-off losses in San Diego.
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, FSN South (Atlanta), ROOT (Seattle)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves LH Alex Wood (7-8, 3.30 ERA) vs. Mariners RH Felix Hernandez (11-3, 2.01)
After giving up five runs and a career-high 12 hits in his previous outing, Wood held his own against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Zack Greinke, settling for a no-decision in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss. The 23-year-old allowed one run on hits while striking out eight over seven frames, holding his opponent to two or fewer runs for the fourth time in seven starts since rejoining the rotation June 25. Wood took the loss in his only career appearance versus the Mariners on June 3, yielding two runs over two innings in relief.
Hernandez absorbed his first loss in his last eight outings and in 12 road starts overall this season Wednesday despite permitting two runs on four hits in seven frames in a 2-0 setback in Cleveland. The five-time All-Star and AL ERA leader is 7-2 with 1.44 ERA during his 14-game streak, but has been backed three runs or fewer in eight of his last nine turns. Hernandez is 16-7 with a 2.59 ERA in 31 all-time interleague starts, although he lost his only career turn against the Braves in June 2011 after giving up five runs over 7 2/3 innings.
1. Four of Atlanta’s last five losses have been decided by one run, with three of those setbacks coming in extra innings.
2. Seattle has alternated wins and losses over the last eight contests since July 26, totaling 21 runs in the victories and three in the defeats.
3. Braves SS Andrelton Simmons is batting .148 with a .233 on-base percentage since the All-Star break.
PREDICTION: Mariners 4, Braves 2