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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, April 22nd (All times eastern)

Seattle Mariners (7-13) at Houston Astros (5-13), 8:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Seattle - Felix Hernandez (1-2, 2.20) Houston - Brad Peacock (1-1, 5.27)

(Sports Network) - Felix Hernandez tries once again to nail down career win No. 100, as the Seattle Mariners begin a three-game series with the Houston Astros on Monday at Minute Maid Park.

Hernandez has been stuck on 99 wins since his Opening Day victory at Oakland. He suffered subsequent losses to the White Sox and Rangers before taking a no- decision against the Tigers on Wednesday. Hernandez was his usual dominant self in that last outing, as he tossed eight innings of one-run ball (unearned) while striking out 12 and allowing only four hits.

Astros catcher Jason Castro took to the film room to get a glimpse of what awaits Houston's lineup on Monday.

"He's one of the best pitchers in baseball for a reason," Castro said. "I've watched him on video a little bit and he's got a lot of quality pitches. He does a good job attacking the zone, so we need to make sure when we do get our pitches, we don't miss it.

"He's one of the guys who can attack you in a lot of different ways with his breaking ball and changeup and different things like that, so it's something we've got to bear down and have good at-bats continuously throughout the game."

For Houston, right-hander Brad Peacock will try to get past the fifth inning for the first time in four starts this season. He was charged with three earned runs in 4 1/3 innings against the A's on Tuesday, as he struck out seven. Peacock's only victory so far in 2013 came at Seattle on April 10, when he pitched five innings and gave up three runs on four hits.

Seattle suffered a three-game sweep at the hands of Texas over the weekend, and that included shutout losses on both Friday and Saturday. In their last 10 games, the Mariners have managed to score more than three runs only once.

Seattle is scoring an American League-worst 3.05 runs per game and has totaled only 13 runs over its last eight contests. Sunday's 11-3 loss to Texas featured 11 strikeouts by the M's, and the hitters have been punched out 63 times over the last five games. Manager Eric Wedge called the strikeouts "ridiculous" and said the hitters need a better approach with two strikes.

"The focus shouldn't be on the young players right now," Wedge said. "If anything, the focus should be on the veterans. They're the ones that should be leading the way. It's easy to pick on the young players, but everybody is accountable for this."

The Astros had a chance to notch a series victory against Cleveland over the weekend, but they fell in Sunday's series finale, 5-4. Houston went 1-for-23 with runners in scoring position during the three-game set.

"You obviously want to capitalize and win games like this," manager Bo Porter said. "Unfortunately we came up short, but we definitely had our opportunities. We had chances and we didn't capitalize."

Houston leads the majors with 173 strikeouts so far this season, followed by Seattle with 167. The Astros did not face Hernandez in their series win (2-1) in Seattle earlier this month.

04/22 10:35:47 ET

  • PGA: AT&T Byron Nelson Championship

    Today at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASL: RailHawks at Jacksonville

    Tonight at 7:30 on WRAL-2

  • PGA: AT&T Byron Nelson Championship

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Bulls vs. Syracuse

    Tonight at 6:20 on Buzz Sports Radio

  • MLB: Detroit at LA Angels

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

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