By Gary Hill

Names have meaning. The name "Edgar Martinez" produces a dramatically different response for Seattle Mariners fans than the name "Chone Figgins". The reasons for divergent opinions are obvious. However, sometimes names can get in the way of analyzing the effectiveness of a player. In the following exercise look at the list of nine nameless players and inspect their stats. The numbers are organized with the Batting Average/On Base Percentage/ Slugging Percentage/ On Base Plus Slugging slash line on top. The stats for each player have been accumulated during the previous 365 days and the list is ordered from worst OPS to best.

After examining the nameless stats, scroll down the page to find the names. Has your opinion changed on anyone?

Player A
.212/.272/.365/.637
15 HR 71 RBI
133 G 545 PA

Player B
.268/.322/.395/.716
13 HR 65 RBI
159 G 686 PA

Player C
.265/.320/.410/.730
14 HR 62 RBI
126 G 528 PA

Player D
.271/.329/.404/.733
14 HR 60 RBI
155 G 609 PA

Player E
.270/.344/.401/.745
14 HR 58 RBI
159 G 642 PA

Player F
.248/.325/.425/.750
20 HR 59 RBI
138 G 133 GS

Player G
.256/.334/.418/.752
18 HR 65 RBI
136 G 616 PA

Player H
.270/.318/.464/.782
18 HR 62 RBI
139 G 482 PA

Player I
.266/.359/.427/.786
14 HR 35 RBI
115 G 449 PA

Josh Reddick
.212/.272/.365/.637
15 HR 71 RBI

Martin Prado
.268/.322/.395/.716
13 HR 65 RBI
159 G 686 PA

Matt Kemp
.265/.320/.410/.730
14 HR 62 RBI
126 G 528 PA

Eric Hosmer
.271/.329/.404/.733
14 HR 60 RBI
155 G 609 PA

Andre Ethier
.270/.344/.401/.745
14 HR 58 RBI
159 G 642 PA

Jason Heyward
.248/.325/.425/.750
20 HR 59 RBI
138 G 133 GS

Ian Kinsler
.256/.334/.418/.752
18 HR 65 RBI
136 G 616 PA

Mitch Moreland
.270/.318/.464/.782
18 HR 62 RBI
139 G 482 PA

Justin Smoak
.266/.359/.427/.786
14 HR 35 RBI
115 G 449 PA


By Gary Hill

Raul Ibanez stamped an exclamation mark on his terrific first half by swatting two homers against the Angels last Friday. He enters the break with a surprising 24 homers and 56 RBI. He spoke to the media after the game, and his elegance of presenting his thoughts on a variety of topics matched the excellence he produced on the field that night. There have been several requests to post his entire chat so here is the link.

The fireworks Ibanez produced on Friday night resulted in the uncovering of a long lost gem. Seattle Mariners Radio Executive Producer/Engineer Kevin Cremin unearthed an interview from Dave Niehaus with the legendary Ted Williams. Raul Ibanez is chasing Ted Williams and I thought it would be a natural to meld the two into a produced piece that you can find here.

By Gary Hill

Zack Greinke, B.J. Upton, Josh Hamilton and Hiroki Kuroda were just a few of the headline names who signed monster free-agent deals over the winter. Major League teams handed out millions of dollars in search of the much-needed impact bat or the elusive prized arm. The Los Angeles Dodgers spent over $185 million in the offseason, while the Mets did not shell out a dime for a player. There was a massive difference in spending, but did spending lavishly pay results in the first half of the season? The following is the list of the five best and five worst of what teams received for their investment in the first half of the season. These rankings are based on first half production only.

The Five Best

5- Boston Red Sox
Boston decided to spend lavishly after a disappointing season a year ago. They secured the services of seven players for $100 million. The price was extremely high, but Koji Uehara, Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Stephen Drew and Ryan Dempster have provided a solid supplement to Boston's core.
Hitters: .252 (262-1,040) 52 HR 141 RBI
Pitchers: 7-8 3.86 ERA 168 IP


4- Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers dished out a jaw-dropping $185,850,000 over the winter. They spent all of their dough on pitching, and it did produce in the first half. Zack Gerinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu have fit nicely in the rotation behind Clayton Kershaw.
Hitters: N/A
Pitchers: 17-5 3.32 ERA in 244 IP

3- Oakland A's
The A's signed two players with very different results. Bartolo Colon is heading to the All-Star game. The A's are waiting for Hiroyuki Nakajima to head out of Triple-A. Oakland only spent $9.5 million for some serious pitching production.
Hitters: N/A
Pitchers: 12-3 2.70 ERA 126 IP

2- Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh landed All-Star closer Jason Grilli for a more than reasonable two-year deal. They also rolled the dice with Francisco Liriano, and he has rewarded them with a stellar first half. They also picked up starting catcher Russell Martin. They managed all of this for only $27,250,000.
Hitters: .239 (62-259) 8 HR 34 RBI
Pitchers: 9-4 26 svs 1.99 ERA 117 IP

1- Seattle Mariners
The M's can boast that they got more value for their money than any team in baseball. They only spent $19.7 million in the offseason, yet they landed an All-Star, a home run leader, and a bullpen star. Hisashi Iwakuma was sensational in the first half, and his two-year deal (with an option for a third) looks like a steal as he heads to New York for the All-Star game. Raul Ibanez signed a $2.7-million deal and currently sits with the fifth-most homers in the game. Oliver Perez signed a one-year contract for $1.5 million and has proved to be one of the most reliable bullpen arms in baseball. Jason Bay has also contributed 11 homers for the minimum.
Hitters: .236 38 HR 85 RBI
Pitchers: 10-6 2.74 ERA 167 IP

The Five Worst

5- Chicago Cubs
The Cubs have managed to squeeze some offense from some unexpected sources, but a large chunk of the $77 million they spent went to Edwin Jackson. His ERA is holding above 5.00, which is not a good sign considering he has three years left on his contract.
Hitters: .253 (121-477) 27 HR 72 RBI
Pitchers: 15-18 4.66 ERA 226 IP

4- Cincinnati Reds
The Reds spent $40 million in the offseason and have not even been able to squeeze just one homer out of the deal.
Hitters: .222 (20-90) 0 HR 9 RBI
Pitchers: 2-2 4.33 27 IP

3- Washington Nationals
Washington dished out some serious cash for a run to the pennant that has not materialized yet. Rafael Soriano has been outstanding while Dan Haren has been the opposite. They spent a total of $65 million.
Hitters: .249 (78-313) 13 HR 43 RBI
Pitchers: 6-12 5.15 ERA 153 IP

2- Atlanta Braves
Atlanta dumped most of the $77 million they spent into the lap of B.J. Upton. He has struggled mightily in the first half of the season. For the simple sake of comparison:

B.J. Upton- .177/.266/.300 8 HR 20 RBI
Jason Bay- .214/.311/.413 11 HR 20 RBI

The difference, of course, it what each player costs their current teams.
Hitters: .213 (95-445) 10 HR 41 RBI
Pitchers: N/A

1- LA Angels
The Angels thought that spending $149,500,000 in the offseason would be a really good idea. Josh Hamilton had a brutally bad start to the season. Joe Blanton has been among the worst starters in the American League. Ryan Madson has not even thrown a ball yet this season.
Hitters: .224 (76-339) 14 HR 39 RBI
Pitchers: 2-12 5.16 ERA 122 IP

Here is the entire list of what every team spent this offseason, by dollars, and the production they have received so far for their investments:

LA Dodgers $185,850,000
Hitters: N/A
Pitchers: 17-5 3.32 ERA in 244 IP

LA Angels $149,500,000
Hitters: .224 (76-339) 14 HR 39 RBI
Pitchers: 2-12 5.16 ERA 122 IP

Cleveland $117,000,000
Hitters: .249 (218-876) 26 HR 97 RBI
Pitchers: N/A

Detroit $106,000,000
.315 (112-356) 7 HR 44 RBI
7-6 3.40 ERA 111 IP

Boston $100,450,000
Hitters: .252 (262-1,040) 52 HR 141 RBI
Pitchers: 7-8 3.86 ERA 168 IP

San Francisco $80,000,000
Hitters: .283 (206-726) 7 HR 66 RBI
Pitchers: 1-4 3.55 ERA 33 IP

Chicago Cubs $77,900,000
Hitters: .253 (121-477) 27 HR 72 RBI
Pitchers: 15-18 4.66 ERA 226 IP

Atlanta $77,000,000
Hitters: .213 (95-445) 10 HR 41 RBI
Pitchers: N/A

Washington $65,000,000
Hitters: .249 (78-313) 13 HR 43 RBI
Pitchers: 6-12 5.15 ERA 153 IP

NY Yankees $62,000,000
Hitters: .249 (166-666) 20 HR 70 RBI
Pitchers: 16-14 30 svs 251 IP

Arizona $45,850,000
Hitters: .264 (120-454) 13 HR 60 RBI
Pitchers: 2-4 5.00 ERA 66 IP

Cincinnati $40,000,000
Hitters: .222 (20-90) 0 HR 9 RBI
Pitchers: 2-2 4.33 27 IP

Texas $30,750,000
Hitters: .256 (153-597) 19 HR 77 RBI
Pitchers: N/A

Pittsburgh $27,250,000
Hitters: .239 (62-259) 8 HR 34 RBI
Pitchers: 9-4 26 svs 1.99 ERA 117 IP

Toronto $26,000,000
Hitters: .268 (156-581) 8 HR 54 RBI
Pitchers: N/A

Kansas City $25,000,000
Hitters: N/A
Pitchers: 8-7 4.25 ERA 120 IP

Seattle $19,750,000
Hitters: .236 38 HR 85 RBI
Pitchers: 10-6 2.74 ERA 167 IP

Philadelphia $15,250,000
Hitters: .263 (56-213) 7 HR 8 RBI
Pitchers: 3-7 3.82 ERA 77 IP

Minnesota $14,000,000
Hitters: N/A
Pitchers: 10-13 4.79 ERA 193 IP

Chicago Sox $12,700,000
Hitters: .243 (86-353) 3 HR 28 RBI
Pitchers: N/A

St. Louis $12,500,000
Hitters: .157 (9-57) 0 HR 3 RBI
Pitchers: 1-0 2.18 ERA 20 IP

Tampa Bay $11,250,000
Hitters: .315 9 HR 43 RBI
Pitchers: 8-14 4.45 ERA 176 IP

Oakland $9,500,000
Hitters: N/A
Pitchers: 12-3 2.70 ERA 126 IP

Milwaukee $7,925,000
Hitters: .177 (20-113) 1 HR 8 RBI
Pitchers: 0-3 3.00 33 IP

Houston $4,750,000
Hitters: .215 (89-413) 9 HR 37 RBI
Pitchers: 0-4 3.20 18 svs 39 IP

Miami $4,350,000
Hitters: .245 (130-529) 2 HR 23 RBI
Pitchers: N/A

Baltimore $3,500,000
Hitters: .275 (87-316) 6 HR 16 RBI
Pitchers: N/A

San Diego $3,000,000
Hitters: N/A
Pitchers: 9-4 3.77 ERA 112 IP

Colorado $1,500,000
Hitters: N/A
Pitchers: 2-5 6.58 ERA 52 IP

NY Mets $0

By Gary Hill

The Seattle Mariners steam into the All-Star break with a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The scorching M's offense steamrolled their division rival and stamped an exclamation point on an excellent July stretch.

Ranks in MLB for the month of July:

On-Base Plus Slugging Percentage -- .853, first

Slugging Percentage -- .499, first

On-Base Percentage -- .355, third

Batting Average -- .289, second

Home Runs -- 22, first

Runs -- 76, second

The blazing offense helped propel the M's to an 8-5 July record despite the fierce competition they faced during the month. The Mariners took two of three from the Cincinnati Reds (53 wins) and the Texas Rangers (54 wins) on the road to start the month. They dropped three of four in a slugfest against the Boston Red Sox, who stroll into the break with the best record in baseball. They finished the month by throwing cold water on the previously red-hot Angels.

The home run has been a primary weapon for this surging squad. The M's are now tied for second in all of baseball by swatting 115 homers. The Baltimore Orioles lead MLB with 132 long balls, with the Mariners and Blue Jays tied in the next slot. The feat is even more impressive when one considers that the Mariners hit a total of 109 homers in 2011 and 101 in 2010. They surpassed both of those totals by the All-Star break this season.

The Mariners have also slugged homers in 22 straight games which sets a club record. They are tracking the Texas Rangers for the longest streak in baseball history.

Consecutive Games with a home run:

2002 Texas Rangers -- 27
1998 Atlanta Braves -- 25
1994 Detroit Tigers -- 25
1941 New York Yankees -- 25
1953 Brooklyn Dodgers -- 24
2006 Atlanta Braves -- 23
2000 Toronto Blue Jays -- 23
1996 Oakland A's -- 23
2013 Seattle Mariners -- 22
2000-01 Arizona Diamondbacks -- 22
1956 Milwaukee Braves -- 22

Players have peppered positive contributions throughout the lineup for the Mariners.

Top performers for Mariners heading into the break:

Justin Smoak -- Since April 22nd he is hitting .306 with a .920 OPS. His slash line in July is .386/.460/.659

Raul Ibanez -- He has already blasted more homers this season (24) than he has in all but one season in a Seattle uniform. His 16 home runs are already ninth most in a season at Safeco Field. Richie Sexson holds the Safeco record with 21.

Brad Miller -- He is hitting .268 with three doubles, six RBI and five walks as the leadoff man. The M's are 6-4 with him at the top spot.

Kendrys Morales -- In June he hit .235/.265/.306 with one HR and nine RBI in 24 games. In July he is .300/.352/.640 with five HR and 12 RBI in 12 games

Mike Zunino -- He went 7-22 (.318) with three RBI during the homestand.

Michael Saunders - The last 28 days he is hitting .288 with two HR, 10 RBI and five BB.

Kyle Seager -- He is hitting .458 with four homers and eight RBI in July. His OPS is 1.292 for the month.

Nick Franklin -- He maintains the second best OPS (.788) for all AL rookies.

The Mariners will look to keep the roll going in Houston after the All-Star break.

By Gary Hill

Aaron Harang took the mound for the first time as a Mariner on April 16 versus the Detroit Tigers.

He was saddled with the loss after chucking five innings and yielding three runs. All three of those runs were driven in by the mighty Miguel Cabrera, who drove in a run with a single in the first inning and then blasted a two-run homer in the fifth. Cabrera has been munching on American League hurlers all season to the tune of a .366 batting average, 29 homers and 93 RBIs.

cf8a964f-b3ab-413b-87ca-8cc0cb60a0b8
Mariners starter Aaron Harang has fared much better this season against teams from the National League, where he has spent the majority of his career. (AP)
It was interesting to hear what Harang, a long-time National League pitcher, said about Cabrera after the game:

"I think we really have to worry about not letting him beat us and making the rest of their team actually beat us. I think it was something obviously not having been in the American League and seeing these guys a lot might have changed my aspect of how I would have pitched to him."

Harang has spent 10 of his 12 big league years pitching in the NL for the Reds, Dodgers and Padres. All but 36 of his 308 Major League starts have come wearing the uniform of an NL team.

Keep the Cabrera comment in mind when you consider Harang's splits against NL and AL teams this season.

Against NL: 2-1, 2.17 ERA, 4 starts, 29 IP, 7 ER.
Against AL: 2-7, 7.17 ERA, 11 starts, 54 IP, 43 ER.

The Houston Astros are included in the AL numbers for Harang, but he has been facing them for over a decade as an NL team. Here are what the numbers look like when you add the Astros to the NL column:

Against the NL and Houston: 3-1, 1.66 ERA, 5 starts, 38 IP, 7 ER.
Against the AL without Houston: 1-7, 8.60 ERA, 10 starts, 45 IP, 43 ER.

Here is a breakdown of his opponents this year in terms of familiarity:

National League and Houston:

May 7 at Pirates: 26 career starts against
May 27 vs. Padres: 16 career starts against
June 11 vs. Astros: 27 career starts against
June 29 vs. Cubs: 27 career starts against
July 5 at Reds: 3 career starts against, but started 213 games for them as recently as 2010.

American League without Astros:

April 16 vs. Tigers: 4 career starts against.
April 21 at Texas: 5 career starts against.
April 26 vs. Angels: 6 career starts against.
May 1 vs. Orioles: 2 career starts against.
May 21 at Angels: 6 career starts against.
June 1 at Twins: 2 career starts against.
June 6 vs. Yankees: 1 career start against.
June 17 at Angels: 6 career starts against.
June 22 vs. A's: 2 career starts against (started 21 games for them, but none since 2003. No current A's player was on that team).
July 10 vs. Red Sox: 4 career starts against.

This may just be a case of a small sample size producing an interesting yet coincidental result. However, maybe there is more at play. Perhaps familiarity is helping breed positive results.

By Gary Hill

The Mariners are surging to start the month of July, having secured two series wins against formidable foes in the Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds. The youthful infield has injected life into the 2013 cause and has visions of future glory dancing in the heads of fans throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Kyle Seager has established himself as one of the bright young third basemen in baseball. His slash line of .287/.352/.477 has been another step forward this season.

The start of Nick Franklin's career has even been a touch better than Seager's was at the same point. Franklin is .284/.340/.482 with six homers and 19 RBIs through his first 153 plate appearances. Seager stepped to the plate 201 times as a rookie in 2011 and posted a .258/.312/.379 line with three homers and 13 RBIs.

Brad Miller tore through the minors thanks to his hitting prowess and has already made an impact at the MLB level in just 11 games. Mike Zunino has handled himself in the big leagues despite the fact it has only been a year since he was taken third overall by the Mariners in the 2012 draft.

Justin Smoak has been a monster since leaving the disabled list last month, posting an impressive 1.047 OPS with four homers and nine RBIs. He has also walked eight times.

The more holes the Mariners can fill this season, the more resources they can distribute to the remaining needs this winter. It would be of significant help for the Mariners if they can roll into the offseason feeling confident about the current infield.

The future of the Mariners' outfield is murkier. Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders will spend the remainder of 2013 trying to establish themselves as everyday outfielders.

Former Oregon State Beaver Stefen Romero has made pitchers suffer as he has rocketed through the minors and could be an option as early as this year, but the former infielder is currently making the transition to the outfield in Tacoma.

Julio Morban is having a solid season with the Double-A Jackson Generals and could be a part of the future puzzle in the outfield.

The list of in-house options is not long and one way or another help will need to be acquired from the outside world.

The list of free-agent outfielders is not deep, but holds intrigue for the Mariners. Here are some of the highlights:

Carlos Beltran
Shin-Soo Choo
Nelson Cruz
Rajai Davis
Curtis Granderson
Raul Ibanez
Michael Morse
David Murphy
Hunter Pence
Jacoby Ellsbury

There are a couple of names on the list that will hold interest for the M's this offseason, and one of them is sure to be Jacoby Ellsbury. The Scott Boras client will require a significant fee for his services given the thin market. The Red Sox center fielder, who is in town this week, does not come without risk. He will be 30 when he hits the market this winter and impactful, although freak, injuries have cost him time. He was limited to 18 games in 2010 and managed to just play 74 last season.

However, he has been brilliant when healthy. He is a gifted center fielder who maintains the best UZR/150, according to FanGraphs.com, among all center fielders since 2011.

The speedster has led the American League in steals twice in his career, including a whopping 70 in 2009. He currently leads all of baseball with 36 steals. That happens to be six more steals than the Mariners have as a team this year.

Ellsbury is hitting .301 with two home runs, 30 RBIs, 20 doubles, and an AL-high seven triples. He also has matched the entire Mariners team for triples this season.

He nearly captured the MVP in his magical 2011 season. He launched 32 homers and drove in 105 runs while swiping 39 bags. He went to the All-Star game, finished second in MVP voting and took home Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. It is not realistic to expect a home run total that approaches 2011 since he has not amassed more than that in the rest of his combined career, though.

He is rolling right now after a sluggish start out of the gates. He is .345/.398/.466 in the last 30 days. He has compiled 40 hits and taken 13 bases.

He has worked his way to 12th in the American League in WAR (3.3), according to BaseballReference.com, which happens to be just one spot ahead of Kyle Seager (3.0).

Ellsbury was a star at Oregon State University and helped establish the best decade in college baseball history for a school north of California. He was born in Madras, Ore., located about two hours southeast of Portland, where he was a high school star before making his way to Oregon State.

The northwest native will most likely be a very popular target this offseason for MLB teams thirsting for additional offensive punch. Time will tell if the Mariners are among them.

By Gary Hill

The ridiculous Raul Ibanez renaissance continued at Safeco Field Monday night. Ibanez bashed his 22nd homer and added his 51st RBI on the season with a sixth-inning single as Seattle stormed by the boys from Beantown 11-4.

Ibanez has become the oldest player in baseball history to reach the 20-home-run and 50-RBI plateau before the All-Star break. The ancient Mariner seemingly swipes at history with every single swing. He has his sights firmly set on "The Splendid Splinter" for the most homers in an age-41-or-over season.

1. Ted Williams: 29, 1960 (41)
2. Barry Bonds: 28, 2007 (42)
3. Barry Bonds: 26, 2006 (41)
4. Raul Ibanez: 22, 2013 (41)
4. Darrell Evans: 22, 1988 (41)
6. Dave Winfield: 21, 1993 (41)
7. Stan Musial: 19, 1962 (41)
8. Carlton Fisk: 18, 1991 (43)
8. Carlton Fisk: 18, 1990 (42)
10. Carl Yastrzemski: 16, 1982 (42)
10. Graig Nettles: 16, 1986 (41)
12. Reggie Jackson: 15, 1987 (41)
12. Willie McCovey: 15, 1979 (41)

He also continues to establish himself as one of the best home run hitters over the age of 40 in history. Note: These are homers actually hit at 40 years or older and not simply in a 40-year-old season or older.

1. Barry Bonds, 78
2. Carlton Fisk, 72
3. Darrell Evans, 65
4. Dave Winfield, 59
5. Carl Yastrzemski, 49
6. Stan Musial, 46
7. Ted Williams, 44
8. Hank Aaron, 42
9. Graig Nettles, 40
10. Hank Sauer, 39
11. Edgar Martinez, 36
11. Harold Baines, 36
13. Raul Ibanez, 32
13. Julio Franco, 32
15. Rickey Henderson, 31
15. Craig Biggio, 31
15. Andres Galarraga, 31
18. Jim Thome, 30
19. Willie McCovey, 28
20. Brian Downing, 27
21. Reggie Jackson, 26
22. Eddie Murray, 25

There have only been 14 occurrences of a player in his 40-year-old season or older hitting 20 or more homers in a season. Edgar Martinez swatted 24 as a 40-year-old in 2003. Ibanez needs just two more to catch his former teammate. Darrell Evans holds the 40-year-old record with 34 homers in 1987 for the Detroit Tigers.

Ibanez spent his first five seasons in the big leagues with the Mariners. From age 24 to 28 he racked up 14 homers and 58 RBIs in 231 games. He is sitting on 22 homers and 51 RBIs in just 254 at-bats this season.

Here are his homer totals as a Mariner by year:

1996, 0
1997: 1
1998: 2
1999: 9
2000: 2
2004: 16
2005: 20
2006: 33
2007: 21
2008: 23
2013: 22

Ibanez continues to extend his home-run record at Safeco Field. He has hit 80 in his career, which vastly eclipses the 62 from Bret Boone, who sits in second. Fourteen of the 22 homers from Ibanez this year have been hit at Safeco Field. It is already the 11th-most homers hit at Safeco during a season. The record was set by Richie Sexson, who smashed 21 long balls at Safeco Field in 2005.

The quantity of homers has certainly been impressive for Ibanez this season and the quality has matched. Monday night marked the 12th time this season an Ibanez homer has either tied the game or propelled the M's into the lead. The homer also extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

Ibanez has helped Seattle surge to a sensational start in the month of July. They have won their first two series of the month and have boasted a 5-2 record. They feature the second-best OPS .891 in baseball and they have scored the seventh-most runs with 39. The Mariners have already hit 12 homers in the month, which ties them with Detroit from most in MLB.

Furthermore, since Brad Miller joined Nick Franklin to become the starting middle infield, the Mariners are averaging 5.3 runs per game.

The sample size is small, but the July start is promising. The Mariners will try and keep it going Tuesday as All-Star Hisashi Iwakuma takes the hill against the Red Sox.

By Gary Hill

Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez were named to the American League All-Star team over the weekend. It was the appropriate cherry hoisted onto what has been a delicious first-half pitching sundae.

Iwakuma boasts the best ERA (2.60) and best WHIP (0.88) in the AL. He has only walked a remarkable 18 hitters while fanning 103. He has hurled the sixth-most innings in the league and opponents are only batting .204 against him, which is fourth best.

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Mariners ace Felix Hernandez has been named to the All-Star team four times, one shy of Randy Johnson's club record. (AP)
Felix features the league's second-best ERA (2.69) behind his teammate. He has thrown the third-most innings (123 2/3) and fanned the fourth-most hitters (130).

Felix has been named to the All-Star team for an impressive fourth time, which is only one fewer than the record for a Mariners pitcher:

Randy Johnson, 5
Felix Hernandez, 4
Kazuhiro Sasaki, 2
Freddy Garcia, 2
Hisashi Iwakuma, 1
Brandon League, 1
Michael Pineda, 1
Cliff Lee, 1
J.J. Putz, 1
Shigetoshi Hasegawa, 1
Jamie Moyer, 1
Jeff Nelson, 1
Aaron Sele, 1
Mark Langston, 1
Matt Young, 1
Floyd Bannister, 1
Rick Honeycutt, 1

There have been only four occasions that an M's pitcher has been named to the All-Star team and not pitched in the game. Rick Honeycutt in 1980, Randy Johnson in 1990 and Felix Hernandez the last two years never appeared on the mound in the game. Felix has actually only pitched in the game one time, throwing a scoreless inning in 2009.

Seattle pitchers have thrown 24 2/3 innings and yielded 10 earned runs in All-Star games. Four of those runs were scored on Shigetoshi Hasegawa in 2003. He only coughed up four earned runs in the entire first half of the season in route to his All-Star selection. He tossed 46 2/3 innings and carried a feathery 0.77 ERA into the All-Star break. He proceeded to match his entire first half of the season by yielding four runs in the mid-summer classic.

Freddy Garcia captured the only All-Star decision for a Seattle pitcher when he won the 2001 game in Seattle. Kazuhiro Sasaki locked down the only All-Star save for the franchise in the same game. There have been five occasions when M's pitchers have gone two innings in the game (Garcia in 2002, Johnson in 1997, 1995 and 1993 and Mark Langston in 1987).

Johnson earned his way to the All-Star game one time by 1993 during his age-28 season. Meanwhile, Felix will already be going to his fourth game in his age-28 campaign. Given his massive success at such a young age, here is the list of most appearances for pitchers in the All-Star game:

Warren Spahn, 14
Mariano Rivera, 13
Tom Seaver, 12
Roger Clemens, 11
Steve Carlton, 10
Tom Glavine, 10
Randy Johnson, 10
Juan Marichal, 9
Rich Gossage, 9
Carl Hubbell, 9
Whitey Ford, 8
Don Drysdale, 8
Bob Gibson, 8
Bob Feller, 8
Roy Halladay, 8
Catfish Hunter, 8
Greg Maddux, 8
Pedro Martinez, 8
Nolan Ryan, 8
John Smoltz, 8

Iwakuma broke into the Nippon Professional Baseball League at the age of 20 in 2001 and put together an impressive decade. He has pitched for Japan in the Olympics and World Baseball Classic. He has captured the coveted Eiji Sawamura, Most Valuable Player and Best Nine Awards. He has won 20 games in a season, which is incredibly difficult to do in Japan. He now adds a Major League Baseball All-Star selection to his resume.

In the meantime, the dynamic duo will throw in the first two games when the Red Sox invade Safeco Field starting tonight. The Mariners return home after an impressive 4-2 road trip in Arlington and Cincinnati as they try and ride their current surge into the All-Star break.

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