Mariners skipper Eric Wedge hopes the third time will be the charm for Felix Hernandez as he shoots for his 100th career win Wednesday. He makes the start after a loss to the Rangers in which he gave up four runs (three earned) and 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings.
Hernandez also notched his 1,500th career strikeout and Wedge said he saw some improvement in his star right-hander.
"I thought he was sharper today than his last outing," Wedge said. "I thought he had better velocity and his secondary stuff was better, too."
Hernandez agreed, saying he wasn't sure why he wasn't able to get the jump on the Rangers' hitters throughout the matchup.
"It wasn't a struggle," Hernandez said. "I was making good pitches, but I was just a little bit off. I'm 100 percent. I'm just missing my spots a little bit. It's a long season."
The milestone could come at a critical time for the Mariners as they try to even the series with the Tigers. Detroit was right at home in Seattle on Tuesday night, crushing 12 hits in the 6-2 win.
Needless to say, there will be a lot of buzz at Safeco Field as Hernandez approaches win No. 100, and Tigers outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo knows the atmosphere better than most.
The 26 year-old came up through the Mariners organization and had a chance to play behind Hernandez. He saw the buzz around Seattle when Hernandez pitched and said he and his team see a similar effect with Justin Verlander.
"I think those two are definitely the best pitchers in the game. It was always electric here when Felix took the mound. There was that buzz," Tuiasosopo said. "I noticed in Detroit the same thing. It's the same buzz. It's pretty fun. It was fun watching [Felix] pitch. ... You feel that buzz and you just kind of feed off of it, and it's been fun to be able to play behind them."
Tigers ace Max Scherzer, who has been having his own buzz-worthy season in 2013, will make his third start Wednesday. Scherzer fanned 11 A's batters over six innings of two-run ball in his last outing. The right-hander has been solid since building up arm strength over Spring Training, compiling a 4.00 ERA through 11 innings.
Scherzer's numbers could get a boost Wednesday, as he has often performed well against Seattle. The six-year man owns a career 3.09 ERA against the Mariners and is 4-1 against them including two straight wins at Safeco.
Mariners: Perez hot on the mound
• Entering Wednesday's game, reliever Oliver Perez has allowed only one run in seven appearances (6 2/3 innings) while holding opponents to a .182 (4-for-22) batting average. He has thrown for strikes on 69 percent of his pitches this season.
• Each of closer Tom Wilhelmsen's five saves have protected a win for a different pitcher: Hernandez (April 1), Kameron Loe (April 5), Joe Saunders (April 8), Hisashi Iwakuma (Friday) and Brandon Maurer (Sunday).
Tigers: Dotel ready to return
• Octavio Dotel rejoined the Detroit bullpen Tuesday night after sitting out the weekend games in Oakland with elbow soreness.
A pregame throwing session went well enough that Dotel was available for the series opener in Seattle. Manager Jim Leyland opted to give Dotel another day to rest, going to Al Alburquerque for the eighth inning with a 6-2 lead.
In Miguel Cabrera's last start against the Mariners in 2012, he was 0-for-4 in a Tigers loss. On Tuesday night, the reigning MVP responded with a scorching night at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs.
Gary Cotton is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.