GAME:Mariners (16-20, 3rd AL West, - 7.5 GB) at Red Sox (15-19, 5th AL East, - 6.5 GB). GAME #: 37. SERIES: 1st of 2 games. MEETING: 1st. WHEN: Monday, 4:10 p.m., Fenway Park, Boston. PROBABLE PITCHERS: LHP Jason Vargas (Seattle, 4-2, 2.79) vs. LHP Jon Lester (Boston, 1-3, 4.29). STREAKS: Mariners W 1; Red Sox W 3. TV: ROOT Sports, MLB TV. RADIO: KIRO 710 (Seattle), Mariners Radio Network.
Few pitchers born in the state of Washington have had a better major league career than Jon Lester , a Tacoma/Bellarmine Prep product who is a two-time All-Star, has won a World Series Game 7, thrown a no-hitter and won the Hutch Award.
The Mariners will counter Monday with Jason Vargas, coming off perhaps his best outing of the season. A closer look at Monday's probables:MARINERS: LHP Jason Vargas (4-2, 2.79 ERA, 0.96 WHIP)
The 29-year-old Vargas, in his seventh major league season and fifth with the Mariners, will make his eighth start and first against the Red Sox.
A native of Apple Valley, CA., the 6-0, 215-pound Vargas was selected in the second round of the 2004 amateur draft by the Florida Marlins.
He made his debut with Florida July 14, 2005, pitching one inning of relief in a 13-7 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Mariners acquired Vargas as part of a three-team swap Dec. 11, 2008, when the New York Mets sent him along with Mike Carp, Ezequiel Carrera, Endy Chavez, Maikel Cleto and Aaron Heilman to the Mariners. The Mariners sent Sean Green, J.J. Putz and Jeremy Reed to the Mets.
The Mariners also sent Luis Valbuena to the Indians. The Mets sent Joe Smith to the Indians, who sent Franklin Gutierrez to the Mariners.
Vargas, the only lefty in Seattle’s starting rotation, has a career record of 31-41, 4.43 ERA, including 25-33, 4.10 ERA with the Mariners.
- LAST START: May 9, defeated Detroit 2-1 at Safeco Field; allowed one run on five hits over 8.0 innings; struck out six and didn't issue a walk; threw 90 pitches, 66 for strikes.
- LAST VS. RED SOX: April 29, 2011, at Fenway Park, defeated Boston 5-4; allowed four earned runs on eight hits over 7.0 innings; struck out four and walked two, but gave up two home runs, both to former Mariner Mike Cameron.
- CAREER VS. RED SOX: 1-1, 3.26 in three games, all starts, covering 19.1 innings; has eight strikeouts vs. eight walks; eight home runs; strikes out 3.7 batters per nine.
- AT FENWAY PARK: 1-0, 5.14 ERA in one start covering 7.0 innings; four strikeouts vs. two walks; two home runs.
- LOVES TO FACE: Carl Crawford (0-for-9, .000 BA), Dustin Pedroia (1-for-6, .167 BA), Jason Repko (1-for-6, .167 BA).
- HATES TO FACE: Kevin Youklis (3-for-5, .600 BA), Adrian Gonzalez (3-for-9, .333 BA), David Ortiz (2-for-6, .333 BA), Kelly Shoppach (2-for-6, .333 BA).
- CURRENT RED SOX VS. VARGAS: 20-for-77, .260 BA, 1 HR, 13 strikeouts.
- March 29 (ND, 0-0): Pitched well enough to win in Tokyo, but after he departed the game, the bullpen imploded, surrendering three home runs, greasing Seattle’s 4-1 defeat to Oakland.
- April 6 (W, 1-0): Threw 91 pitches, 58 for strikes, finishing with an in-game ERA of 2.31 in a 7-3 victory over Oakland, Vargas’ first win.
- April 12 (L, 1-1): Allowed four earned runs on seven hits and lost to Derek Holland and the Rangers 5-3 in Arlington; fanned six and walked one; gave up a two-run bomb to Michael Young, who had four RBIs; threw 96 pitches, 63 strikes.
- April 18 (W, 2-1): Allowed one earned run on four hits over 7 innings, defeating Indians, 4-1; had nine ground-ball outs and nine fly-ball outs.
- April 24 (W, 3-1): Allowed four runs on six hits, defeating Max Scherzer and the Tigers 7-4 in a game in which the Mariners banged out 15 hits; struck out four, walked one in a 94-pitch effort that included 61 strikes; surrendered home runs to Avila and Cabrera.
- April 29 (L, 3-2): Allowed two earned runs on four hits over 6.0 innings and suffered the loss to the Blue Jays; struck out four, walked three; threw a season-high 111 pitches, 60 for strikes.
- May 4 (ND, 3-2): Took a no-decision in Seattle’s 3-2 loss to Minnesota at Safeco Field; allowed one earned run on four hits over 6.1 innings, but lost a chance to win on Wilhelmsen’s throwing error.
- May 9 (W, 4-2): Defeated Detroit 2-1 at Safeco Field; allowed one run on five hits over 8.0 innings; struck out six and didn't issue a walk; threw 90 pitches, 66 for strikes.
The 28-year-old Lester, in his seventh major league season, all with the Red Sox, will be making his eighth start and his first against the Mariners.
A native of Tacoma and a graduate of Bellarmine Prep, the 6-4, 240-pound Lester was selected by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2002 amateur draft.
Lester began his pro career in 2002 and pitched in the minors for four years before making his major league debut June 10, 2006 in a 7-4 loss to the Texas Rangers. Lester started the game but did not factor in the decision. He allowed three runs on five hits in 4.1 innings.
Lester went on to compile a 7-2 record over the 2006 season. After splitting 2007 between the majors and minors, Lester became a fixture in Boston’s rotation in 2008 when he made 33 starts.
Lester has won at least 15 games in every season since, with a best mark of 19-9, 3.25 ERA in 2010. Lester is a two-time (2010-11) American League All-Star and the 2008 Hutch Award winner. He entered the 2012 season as the active leader in winning percentage at .675.
Lester recovered from a well-publicized case of lymphoma. Less than two years after being diagnosed, Lester started and won the final game of the 2007 World Series. On May 19, 2008, he threw a no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals.
The lefty labored in his last start, throwing 109 pitches over five innings and taking the loss against the Royals. Lester is holding opponents to a .250 batting average. He is looking for his first win of the season at Fenway, and has a career record of 77-37, 3.57.
- 2012: Lester has not pitched effectively. He produced his best game, and only win, April 28 at Chicago when he defeated the White Sox 1-0, out-dueling Jake Peavy. Lester allowed five hits over seven innings, striking out seven.
- LAST START: May 9 at Kansas City, suffered a 4-3 defeat; allowed one earned run on four hits over 5.0 innings; threw 108 pitches, 69 for strikes.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: Sept 13, 2010, defeated Doug Fister and the Mariners 5-1 at Safeco Field; allowed one run on three hits over 8.0 innings; struck out 12, including Russell Branyan and Matt Tuiasosopo three times each, while walking just three; held the Mariners to a .129 batting average.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: 2-2, 3.97 ERA in seven starts, covering 45.1 innings; has 53 strikeouts to 13 walks and fans 10.5 batters per nine innings; five home runs.
- AT FENWAY PARK: 36-16, 3.46 ERA in 74 starts covering 463.0 innings; averages 8.0 strikeouts per nine innings pitched; 41 home runs.
- LOVES TO FACE: Casper Wells (0-for-4, .000 BA), Justin Smoak (0-for-3, .000 BA), Miguel Olivo (2-for-12, .167 BA), Ichiro (6-for-25, .240 BA).
- HATES TO FACE: Brendan Ryan (2-for-3, .667 BA), Jesus Montero (2-for-5, .400 BA), Chone Figgins (5-for-15, .333 BA).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. LESTER: 22-for-91, .242 BA, 3 HRs, 30 strikeouts.
- CURRENT ROAD TRIP: 1-2 vs. New York, two in Boston (Monday-Tuesday), two in Cleveland (Wednesday-Thursday), three in Colorado (Fridaty-Sunday).
- MARINERS VS. RED SOX: Mariners are158-215all-time vs. the Red Sox, including71-114 at Fenway Park. Red Sox won 2011 series 5-4. Mariners have not won a season series from Boston since 2009 (4-2). Mariners have never swept a series. Boston's last sweep of the Mariners occurred in 2011 (three games).
- LATEST: After going 2-for-20 on the most recent homestand, Justin Smoak went 6-for-12 in three games in New York, including 2-for-4 Sunday when he hit a two-run homer. Smoak's home run came batting right handed, his first of the season. He entered the game batting .097 as a righty . . . Casper Wells batted in the second hole Sunday and went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer . . . Ichiro stole his first base Sunday, but left three runners stranded . . . Sunday's win snapped Seattle's eight-game road losing streak . . . Blake Beavan's next start has been pushed to Tuesday to give him more time to recover from the line drive he took off the bat of Miguel Cabrera last week . . . Dustin Ackley, 1-for-4 Sunday, extended his hitting streak to nine games, longest by a Mariners in 2012 . . .By the time the Mariners return to Seattle May 21, they will have played 28 road games vs. 15 at home.
- SERIES/STREAKS: Series Record: Won 5, split 0, lost 6; Sweeps: 1; Swept: 1. Longest Win Streak: 4 (April 24-27). Longest Losing Streak: 7 (April 28-May 4). Vs. AL East: 2-8; Vs. AL Central: 8-7; Vs. AL West: 6-5.
- BATTING: Mariners rankninth (AL) in runs (135), ninth in hits(281), fifth in doubles(62), ninth in triples (5)andeighth in home runs (32) . . .Rank 13th in batting average (.235),14th in on-base percentage (.291), 12th in slugging (.373)and13th in OPS (.664) . . . batting 68-for-289 (.235) with runners in scoring position after going 3-for-9 Sunday . . . out-homered39-32. . . left 221 men on base, opponents219 . . .scored135 runs, opponents 143 . . . scored74 of 135 runs in the first four innings . . . Mariners 13-5 when scoring 4+ runs . . . Mariners have homered in 13 of last 19 games. . . batted around three times: April 7 at Oakland (4th inning), April 9 at Texas (1st), and April 17 vs. Cleveland (4th) . . . shut out four times (April 10 at Texas, April 13 vs Oakland, April 21 vs. Chicago, April 27 at Toronto).
- BATTING EXTRA: Dustin Ackley has Seattle's longest hitting streak at nine consecutive games (May 3-present). Jesus Montero and Miguel Olivo had eight-game hitting streaks, Montero from March 29-April 14, Olivo from April 22 until he went on DL list May 1 . . . Mariners have recorded four bases-loaded walks (Kawasaki, Ryan, Montero, Smoak) . . . Kyle Seager's single in the fourth inning April 17 marked the 50,000th hit in Mariners' history, and Brendan Ryan's walk in the same frame scored Justin Smoak with the 25,000th run in franchise history . . . Montero's 13 RBIs in April were the most by a Mariners' rookie since 1986 . . . Three Mariners, Ichiro (March 28 vs. Oakland), Justin Smoak (April 17 vs. Cleveland) and Jesus Montero (May 1 at Tampa) have four-hit games . . . Walk-Off Wins: May 7, their first since Sept. 14, 2011 vs. New York, and their first via a sacrifice fly since Sept. 14, 2007 vs. Tampa Bay (Jose Guillen).
- PITCHING: Mariners rank seventhin ERA (3.87), fourth in hits allowed (284), fifth in runs allowed (143), eighthin home runs allowed(39), fourth in walks (100), seventh in strikeouts (254) . . . Felix Hernandez has 17 career no-decisions while throwing 7.0 or more innings and allowing one or fewer runs . . . Closer Brandon League has two blown saves after not blowing his first save of 2011 until May 10.
- ICHIRO (1-for-5Sunday) has763 multi-hit games, which ranks fourth among active players, and No. 1 since his debut in 2001. Ichiro's 47 games with four or more hits leads all active players . . . Three-hit game April 30 marked the226th of his major league career . . . RanksT99 on career hitslist (2,469), two behind No. 98 Joe Medwick . . . Since 2001, has recorded 99 outfield assists. Only Jeff Francouer, with 100, has more . . . With 96 career home runs, needs four to become the 12th Mariner with 100. Breakdown: 94 as a leadoff hitter, one batting second, one batting third.
- ODDS/ENDS: The Mariners will play 17 games in the next 17 days. Their next day off is June 7 . . . Mariners have three more bobblehead nights: May 25 (Dustin Ackley), June 15 (Felix Hernandez), July 28 (Dan Wilson and Randy Johnson).
- DEBUTS: Munenori Kawasaki (April 7), Lucas Luetge (April 7), Erasmo Ramirez (April 9), Hisashi Iwakuma (April 20).
- DISABLED LIST: Miguel Olivo (15-day, May 1, strained right groin), George Sherrill (15-day, April 13, strained flexor bundle), Franklin Gutierrez (15-day, March 28, torn pectoral muscle; plantar fascitis), Adam Moore (15-day, March 28, fractured wrist).
- April 24: Catcher Miguel Olivo matched the franchise record when he was charged with three passed balls in a 7-4 win at Detroit. Jerry Narron let three balls get by him Oct. 4, 1980, and Jeff Clement did likewise Aug. 10, 2008 (Clement was catching knuckleballer R.A. Dickey).
- April 27: Michael Saunders joined Donnie Scott (April 29, 1985) and Jimmy Presley (April 8, 1986) as the only Mariners to hit two home runs in a game in the ninth inning or later (solo homer in the 9th, grand slam in the 10th).
- April 30: When both Miguel Olivo and Jesus Montero homered, it marked the first time in franchise history that two players had homered in the same game as a catcher.
- May 2: Ichiro set a club record for most putouts by a right fielder in a nine-inning game, registering 10 in a 5-4 loss at Tampa.
- May 3: The Mariners featured a lineup at Tampa Bay that included seven left- handed hitters and two switch-hitters. It marked only the third time in club history that the Mariners used an all left-sided lineup. Others: Aug. 13, 1983 at California and Aug. 9, 1983 at Oakland.
- May 5: Combined one-hitter by Felix Hernandez and Steve Delabar vs. Minnesota was the 13th in Mariners history. Ten have been thrown by one pitcher, three combined. Most recent combined: Michael Pineda, Jeff Gray and Brandon League vs. Tampa, July 30, 2011. Most recent by one pitcher: Jarrod Washburn, July 6, 2009.
- May 9: When John Jaso batted leadoff against Detroit, it marked the first time since 1978 that a catcher had hit first for the Mariners (Bob Stinson). Oddly, lefty Jaso led off against Tiger lefty Drew Smyly.
|Rec.||Home||Road||Day||Night||vs. RHP||vs. LHP||Hit HR||No HR|
|5/14||Mon||at Bos||Jason Vargas (4-2, 2.79) vs. John Lester (1-3, 4.29)|
|5/15||Tue||at Bos||Blake Beavan (1-3, 4.32) vs. Josh Beckett (2-4, 5.97)|
|5/16||Wed||at Cle||Felix Hernandez (3-2, 2.29) vs. Ubaldo Jiminez (3-3, 5.18)|
|5/17||Thr||at Bos||Hector Noesi (2-4, 6.32) vs. Zach McAllister (1-1, 4.15)|
|Gm.#||Date||Opp.||W/L||Rec.||Win / Loss|
|1||3/28||at Oak||W, 3-1||1-0||W: Wilhelmsen (1-0); L: Carignan (0-1)|
|2||3/29||at Oak||L, 4-1||1-1||W: Colon (1-0); L: Kelley (0-1)|
|Gm. #||Date||Opp.||W/L||Rec.||Win / Loss|
|3||4/6||at Oak||W, 7-3||2-1||W: Vargas (1-0); L: McCarthy (0-1)|
|4||4/7||at Oak||W, 8-7||3-1||W: Hernandez (1-0); L: Colon (1-1)|
|5||4/9||at Tex||L, 11-5||3-2||W: Darvish (1-0); L: Noesi (0-1)|
|6||4/10||at Tex||L, 1-0||3-3||W: Feliz (1-0); L: Beavan (0-1)|
|7||4/11||at Tex||W, 4-3||4-3||W: Luetge (1-0); L: Nathan (0-2)|
|8||4/12||at Tex||L, 5-3||4-4||W: Holland (1-0); L: Vargas (1-1|
|9||4/13||vs Oak||L, 4-0||4-5||W: Colon (2-1); L: Hernandez (1-1)|
|10||4/14||vs. Oak||W, 4-0||5-5||W: Noesi (1-1); L: Milone (1-1)|
|11||4/15||vs. Oak||W, 5-3||6-5||W: Beavan (1-1); L: Godfrey (0-2)|
|12||4/17||vs. Cle||L, 9-8||6-6||W: Perez (0-1); L: Furbush (0-1)|
|13||4/18||vs. Cle||W, 4-1||7-6||W: Vargas (2-1); L: Lowe (2-1)|
|14||4/19||vs. Cle||L, 2-1||7-7||W: Tomlin (1-1); L: League (0-1)|
|15||4/20||vs. CWS||L, 7-3||7-8||W: Sale (2-1); L: Noesi (1-2)|
|16||4/21||vs. CWS||L, 4-0||7-9||W: Humber (1-0); Beavan (1-2)|
|17||4/22||vs. CWS||L, 7-4||7-10||W: Danks (2-2); L: Millwood (0-1)|
|18||4/24||at Det||W, 7-4||8-10||W: Vargas (3-1); L: Scherzer (1-2)|
|19||4/25||at Det||W, 9-1||9-10||W: Fernandez (2-1); L: Wilk (0-3)|
|20||4/26||at Det||W, 5-4||10-10||W: Furbush (1-1); L: Porcello (1-2)|
|21||4/27||at Tor||W, 9-5||11-10||W: Furbush (2-1); L: Perez (2-1)|
|22||4/28||at Tor||L, 7-0||11-11||W: Morrow (2-1); L: Millwood (0-2)|
|23||4/29||at Tor||L, 7-2||11-12||W: Alvarez (1-2); L: Vargas (3-2)|
|24||4/30||at TB||L, 3-2||11-13||W: Howell (1-0); L: League (0-2)|
|Gm. #||Date||Opp.||W/L||Rec.||Win / Loss|
|25||5/1||at TB||L, 3-1||11-14||W: Moore (1-1); L: Noesi (1-3)|
|26||5/2||at TB||L, 5-4||11-15||W: Shields (5-0); L: Beavan (1-3)|
|27||5/3||at TB||L, 4-3||11-16||W: Niemann (2-3); L: Millwood (0-3)|
|28||5/4||vs. Min||L, 3-2||11-17||W: Pavano (2-2); L: Wilhelmsen (1-1)|
|29||5/5||vs. Min||W, 7-0||12-17||W: Hernandez (3-1); L: Marquis (2-1)|
|30||5/6||vs. Min||W, 5-2||13-17||W: Noesi (2-3): L: Blackburn (0-4)|
|31||5/7||vs. Det||W, 3-2||14-17||W: Delabar (1-0); L: Dotel (1-1)|
|32||5/8||vs. Det||L, 6-4||14-18||W: Verlander (3-1); L: Millwood (0-4)|
|33||5/9||vs. Det||W, 2-1||15-18||W: Vargas (4-2); L: Putkoen (0-1)|
|34||5/11||at NYY||L, 6-2||15-19||W: Kuroda (3-4); L: Hernandez (3-2)|
|35||5/12||at NYY||L, 6-2||15-20||W: Hughes (3-4); L: Noesi (2-4)|
|36||5/13||at NYY||W, 6-2||16-20||W: Millwood (1-4); L: Pettitte (0-1)|