Saturday, June 25, 2016

Karns, Leake square off at Safeco Field

The Cardinals and Mariners, both of whom had a pair of streaks snapped in the series opener, will meet again on Saturday in the second game of a three-game Interleague set at Safeco Field.
The Cardinals arrived to town having won eight straight game road games for the first time in more than three decades. That run came to an end on Friday at the hand of the Mariners, who snapped their own six-game losing streak with a victory to open a nine-game homestand.
Seattle will look to right-hander Nathan Karns to try and carry that momentum a bit further as he makes his first career start against the Cardinals. After going 5-1 with a 3.43 ERA in his first 10 starts of the season, Karns has hit some turbulence this month. He's winless in four June starts and hasn't gotten past the fifth inning in any of them.
Cardinals starter Mike Leake will try to continue the run of deep starts by the Cardinals' rotation. With Carlos Martinez's seven-inning outing on Friday, the Cardinals have posted 13 straight quality starts. During that stretch, the team's rotation ERA of 2.07 is tops in the Majors.
Leake, who is 5-1 with a 2.70 ERA over his last eight starts, has faced the Mariners once previously in his career. That came back in 2013, when he allowed four earned runs in a five-inning start at Great American Ball Park.
• Mariners first baseman/designated hitter Dae-Ho Lee and Cardinals reliever Seung Hwan Oh may get their first chance to face one another outside of South Korea in this series. The two rookies, who competed against one another in Korea, were also teammates in the 2008 Summer Olympics and on the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classic teams.
• The Mariners are utilizing an eight-man bullpen this series after sending left fielder Nori Aoki to Triple-A on Friday. Aoki's demotion will also shuffle things in the field, as Seth Smith is now poised to see increased playing time in left field and Nelson Cruz in right. Adam Lind and Lee are now also more likely to appear in the starting lineup together, with one at first base and the other serving as a designated hitter.
• The Cardinals will find out on Saturday whether first baseman Matt Adams will be available for the second game of the three-game series. Adams was scratched just ahead of first pitch on Friday due to lower back tightness.

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