It’s been rough for starting pitcher Joe Saunders since joining the Seattle Mariners this offseason. After pitching one of his best gems to guide the Baltimore Orioles in a surprising upset over the Texas Rangers in the inaugural American League Wild Card game last season, the 2013 campaign has not been nearly as kind to the veteran left-hander.
Saunders’ struggles this season continued against the Toronto Blue Jays in Sunday’s 10-2 loss, as he allowed seven runs and nine hits in five innings to drop to 2-4 this season, including an 0-4 record and 12.53 in road starts.
“He’s typically actually pitched better on the road,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said about Saunders to The Seattle Times, which notes that he actually boasts a 3.94 career road ERA as opposed to his 4.47 home mark. “I just think it’s somewhat of a fluke thing right now. It’s gained a little bit of momentum and we’ve got to stop it. He knows how to pitch but he has to hit his spots, work in and out, up and down, and make the baseball do what he wants to do with it.”
Saunders allowed one earned run in each of his two postseason starts last season after going 9-13 with a 4.07 ERA between the Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks. He parlayed that, along with the consistency and longevity of his nine-year career, into a deal with Seattle this February.
The Mariners will be hoping for more performances like the complete-game victory over Baltimore a week ago than the struggles he’s suffered on the road thus far in 2013.