The Seattle Mariners have thrived overall in the past two weeks but haven't won consistently on the road.
Hisashi Iwakuma has pitched well no matter where he's starting, and he'll try to get the Mariners back on track Tuesday night following a series-opening loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.Seattle (67-57) has won 10 of 13 but has alternated wins and losses in its last 12 road games. The Mariners continued that trend with a 4-1 defeat to Philadelphia on Monday.Andres Blanco's first major league home run since July 1, 2011 -- a three-run shot in the fifth inning -- did most of the damage for the Phillies, losers in seven of their previous nine. Dustin Ackley drove in Seattle's run during a three-hit night that included a pair of doubles.The loss dropped the Mariners a percentage point behind Detroit for the AL's second wild card.Iwakuma (11-6, 2.72 ERA) will try to do his part to help his club regain sole possession of that spot with another top-notch performance. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.27 ERA in his last four starts and owns a 0.84 ERA in his first three this month.He gave up five hits and one walk in 6 2/3 innings Wednesday in a 2-0 win over visiting Toronto."I was pleased with his outing. He's getting better and better every day," manager Lloyd McClendon said.Iwakuma is 2-1 with a 1.95 ERA in last four road starts and only a 1-0 loss to Baltimore on Aug. 3 has kept him from being unbeaten away from home this season. He's 5-1 with a 2.82 ERA in eight road outings in 2014.Iwakuma has also totaled 14 scoreless innings in his last two interleague starts and will be facing the Phillies (55-70) for the first time.Veteran right-hander A.J. Burnett (6-13, 4.35) will make his 10th career start against the Mariners and first since a 2-1 loss for Pittsburgh on May 8, 2013.Burnett heads into this matchup 0-5 with a 6.54 ERA in his six starts since the All-Star break and has taken defeats in each of his last four. He gave up one run in his first five innings Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels but was charged with three more in the sixth in a 4-3 loss."I don't feel snakebit," Burnett said. "It's in my control. I mean, it definitely hasn't gone the way I wanted it to. I'm very discouraged. I'm not going to lie. I'm not a bit happy, but the season is not over."Burnett's losing streak is his longest in a single season since a six-game skid to end 2005. He also lost in five straight starts from Aug. 24-Sept. 14 that season and did it again June 4-26, 2010.Ben Revere, batting .385 in his last 27 games and .448 in his last six interleague contests, is the only current Phillies player to have faced Iwakuma, going 0 for 1 with a walk and a sacrifice fly.
Marlon Byrd has slugged .480 this season in at-bats to end on a pitch in the lower third of the zone or below, eighth highest among qualifiers. Hisashi Iwakuma has thrown the third-highest percentage of pitches in that zone this season among qualifiers (57 percent).