We are past the quarter mark in the season, and for the first time, the Mariners will be a division foe as they head to Oakland to play the Athletics. There is a decent amount on the line, as the Mariners have been playing badly, pitching poorly, and hitting worse. Maybe things will get better since they don’t have to face that Tatis kid anymore, but Oakland has its share of guys that can make you pay as well.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that people thought the Mariners could be a dark horse to make a playoff push. You see it happen occasionally in baseball (just not in Seattle) where a team full of under-appreciated, not well known, or castoffs starts to gel and makes a push with a strong season.
Alas, the Mariners have quickly fallen off, and are now, by winning percentage, one of the ten worst teams in the league. Already, they are 6.5 games out in the division, and five games out of a wildcard berth behind the Astros. It’s not likely going to be any easier, as they now head to Oakland to take on the division-leading Athletics, who sit at 28-20.
Mariners vs Athletics: Pitching matchups
Yusei Kikuchi vs. Frankie Montas
Logan Gilbert vs. Cole Irvin
TBD vs. James Kaprielian
The Mariners have their pseudo-ace going to start the series, as Yusei has been throwing well all season. You can trust him to go 6 innings or so, maybe 7, and only give up 2-3 runs. As we have seen lately though, that might be too many runs for the team to try and overcome. They have only averaged 2.77 runs over their last 13 games, and sit below the Mendoza line as a team.
Gilbert will look to get on track in the middle game, as fans and Gilbert alike hope that the third time is a charm. Oakland has some guys that can make you pay, and are capable of putting together a streak as well as anyone in baseball, so it will be a good test for Gilbert.
As for the finale, they have not announced who will be taking the rubber yet. Likely, it is going to be a bullpen game, so we are going to see a bucketful of arms, and no one going more than a few innings. It would be nice if Gilbert and Yusei could get 11-12 innings combined to help ease the load on the bullpen, meaning Gilbert needs to go at least four innings.
Mariners vs Athletics: Trying to stop the losing streak
The Mariners have had more than just one rough week amidst their losing streak. It wasn’t that long ago that the team was 18-15, sitting near the top of the division and wondering if maybe they could continue on as a .500 team. Since then, they have gone 3-11. It started off with a five-game losing streak, a series win against Cleveland, and then the current six-game losing streak.
The bullpen WAS great, the starters WERE decent, and the offense WAS something resembling a major league team. Now, they are 13 points lower than the second-worst team in batting average, last in OBP, are 22nd in ERA overall, with their starters ranking 27th and the bullpen has fallen from 1st to 16th.
It’s been a rough go of it for the Mariners, and they will head to Oakland to try and reverse course. Check out our poll on Twitter to voice your opinion on how the series will go, and tune in tonight for the opener.