New Mariners lefty Yusei Kikuchi says MLB dream began when he was 15
The Seattle Mariners (26-40) dropped eight of 11 games in their most recent homestand, and open a 10-day, nine-game road trip Friday against the Angels, Twins and A’s.
All of the games will be broadcast on television on Root Sports Northwest and radio on 710 ESPN.
Opposing team records and pitching stats updated through Wednesday’s games.
MARINERS ROAD PREVIEW
Friday, June 7 — Opponent: Los Angeles Angels, 7:07 p.m. Pitching probables: Marco Gonzales (5-6, 4.89 ERA) vs. Andrew Heaney (0-0, 4.09).
Saturday, June 8 — Los Angeles Angels, 7:07 p.m. Yusei Kikuchi (3-3, 4.43) vs. TBD.
Sunday, June 9 — Los Angeles Angels, 1:07 p.m. Wade LeBlanc (2-2, 5.70) vs. Trevor Cahill (2-6, 7.18).
Monday, June 10 — Off day.
Tuesday, June 11 — Minnesota, 5:10 p.m. Mike Leake (5-6, 4.30) vs. Martin Perez (7-2, 3.72).
Wednesday, June 12 — Minnesota, 5:10 p.m. Tommy Milone (1-1, 3.10) vs. Jose Berrios (7-2, 3.27).
Thursday, June 13 — Minnesota, 10:10 a.m. Gonzales vs. Kyle Gibson (6-2, 3.75).
Friday, June 14 — Oakland, 6:37 p.m. Kikuchi vs. Chris Bassitt (3-1, 3.42).
Saturday, June 15 — Oakland, 6:07 p.m. LeBlanc vs. Frankie Montas (7-2, 2.83).
Sunday, June 16 — Oakland, 1:07 p.m. Leake vs. Daniel Mengden (1-1, 5.09).
About the Angels (30-32): If Kikuchi remains in the rotation as Seattle’s starter Saturday in Anaheim — his last start was skipped to give him a more extended resting period — and Angels manager Brad Ausmus elects to play Shohei Ohtani this time, the two Japanese baseball starts will finally meet in the majors. Kikuchi and Ohtani attended the same high school in Japan, and faced each other five times during their professional careers in Japan. They were projected to meet when the Angels visited Seattle last week, but Ohtani was given the day off. Ohtani is 2-for-5 against Kikuchi with a single and double, but Kikuchi has struck him out three times. ... Mike Trout homered twice against the Mariners during the most recent series the two clubs played, and has hit three of his 15 against Seattle this season. Trout’s 36 career home runs against the Mariners are his most against any opposing club. ... Trout’s 56 walks this season lead the American League, as does his .463 on-base percentage and 4.2 WAR.
About the Twins (40-20): Remember two months ago, when the Mariners started 13-2, had the best record in baseball, and led the AL in just about every offensive category? The Twins supplanted Seattle in pretty much every one of those during the month of May. Minnesota now leads the AL in runs scored (356), doubles (130), RBIs (343), batting average (.272), slugging percentage (.510) and OPS (.850). For a while, the Twins led the home run race, though the Mariners tied them at 114 on Wednesday. So, at least there’s that. ... Houston and the Los Angeles Dodgers are the only two teams in the majors with better records than the Twins, who have a sizable lead in the AL Central. ... Shortstop Jorge Polanco continues his tear through opposing pitchers, and is tied for first in the AL in hits (77). He checks out in the top five in the AL in doubles (17) and triples (five), and is slashing at .339/.404/.590. His 3.7 WAR trails only Trout.
About the A’s (30-31): The A’s appeared on the verge of a breakthrough the last time the Mariners saw them in Oakland. They won 10 consecutive games — with a rain-suspended game mixed in that will be resumed in September, which they were also leading in — including sweeping Seattle in a three-game set. But, then Oakland lost a series to the Angels and got swept by the Astros to stymie some late May momentum. ... The Mariners swept the A’s twice to take a 4-0 season series lead midway through May, but Oakland cut that lead to 4-3 in the last meeting. ... Of the three pitchers the Mariners are scheduled to face in this series, Mengden is the only one they’ve seen this season. He pitched four innings, allowing one run on five hits while walking five and striking out four the first time around. The A’s won the game.