Safeco a friendly place for Mo and Tex
The 10-game, 11-day trip to the West Coast that began Thursday night at Seattle starts a soft spot on the Yankees’ schedule. Of the Yankees’ next 11 series leading into the All-Star break, six will be against teams currently under .500, including three of the next four with the Mariners, Angels and Dodgers – nine of 12 games. The other three are in Oakland.
This will be the Yanks’ only visit to Safeco Field this year. They have won eight of their last 13 games there since the start of the 2010. The Yankees’ .594 winning percentage based on a 38-26 record is the highest all time for any American League club at Safeco Field. The Bombers have had four consecutive non-losing road season series against the Mariners.
Mariano Rivera has converted 17 of 18 career save opportunities at Safeco Field, with his only blown save coming Sept. 18, 2009 when current teammate Ichiro Suzuki hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Mo leads the AL in saves (21), second-most in the majors behind the Pirates’ Jason Grilli (22).
Rivera converted each of his first 18 chances this season, prior to blowing his first and only save May 28 against the Mets at Citi Field. It marked his second-longest streak of converted save chances to start a season behind a 28-game stretch in 2008. He got his 21st save Tuesday against the Indians in the Yankees’ 58th game. That is the second-fewest number of team games needed for Rivera to reach 21 saves behind 2004 (52nd game). He reached the 20-saves plateau for the 16th time in his career, breaking a tie with Trevor Hoffman for the most such seasons in baseball history.
Mark Teixeira has 15 career home runs at Safeco Field, which is tied with Eric Chavez, now of the Diamondbacks, for second most there by someone who never played for the Mariners. The leader in that category is Rafael Palmeiro with 17.
With a two-run home run Wednesday, Travis Hafner has hit 38 home runs in games started by CC Sabathia, the most any player in games the lefthander has started. Teixeira is next with 29.
Earlier this week, All-Star selections were made in the Class A Florida State League and South Atlantic League. Catcher Gary Sanchez and right-handed pitcher Shane Green of Tampa were selected to play for the North Division. Chosen for the Southern Division from Charleston were right-handed pitchers Rafael De Paula and Gabe Encinas, left-handed pitcher Dietrich Enns and catcher Peter O’Brien. De Paula was named the Southern Division starting pitcher.