By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners plan to juggle their pitching rotation in order to line up their top three starters — Felix Hernandez, Chris Young and Hisashi Iwakuma — to face the Toronto Blue Jays in next week’s series at Safeco Field.
Entering Monday, the Blue Jays (60-53) led the chase for the American League’s final wild-card spot by 11/2 games over Kansas City and the New York Yankees (both 57-53) and by two games over the Mariners (57-54).
The switch means Hernandez and Young will get extra rest after their next starts. It also means the Mariners are listing Sunday’s starter for the series finale against the Chicago White Sox as “to be announced.”
The Mariners likely will recall a starter from Triple-A Tacoma to start Sunday. Right-hander Taijuan Walker, who was scheduled to start for the Rainiers on Monday, appears best in line, although right-hander Erasmo Ramirez is also an option.
The revised rotation lines up this way: Hernandez and Young will start Tuesday and Wednesday against Atlanta. Then Roenis Elias, Iwakuma and James Paxton will start Thursday through Saturday against the White Sox.
After the TBA start Sunday against Chicago, the Mariners will have Hernandez, Young and Iwakuma lined up to face the Blue Jays.
Pulaski right-hander Ricardo Pereira was picked as the Pitcher of the Week in the Rookie Appalachian League for July 28-Aug. 4.
Pereira, 23, pitched 11? scoreless innings in two starts. He struck out 12, allowed eight hits and walked two. He made four relief appearances with the Everett AquaSox before being reassigned to Pulaski in late June.
The Mariners signed Pereira, a Venezuelan native, in 2008 as a non-drafted free agent. He is a combined 3-4 this season with a 2.64 ERA in 441/3 innings over 12 games.
It was 37 years ago today — Aug. 5, 1977 — that the Mariners, in their inaugural season, passed the 1 million mark in home attendance by drawing 36,833 for a 5-3 victory over the Yankees at the Kingdome.
The Mariners finished the season with an attendance of 1,338,511, which set a first-year record for an expansion club in the United States.
The Mariners open a two-game series against Atlanta at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday at Safeco Field. Right-hander Felix Hernandez (11-3 with a 2.01 ERA) will oppose Braves lefty Alex Wood (7-8 and 3.30).