A tough week against a pair of teams from the American League East knocked the Seattle Mariners back in the AL wild card race, but a homestand is coming up that should help them gain back some ground. The Mariners kick off a nine-game homestand and a stretch of 19 straight against AL West opponents when they host the Oakland Athletics on Friday.
Seattle (66-68) is suffering through a five-game losing streak after dropping two at the New York Yankees and getting swept in a three-game set by the Baltimore Orioles while surrendering an average of seven runs. The Mariners made a move to fortify the rotation by bringing in veteran right-hander Mike Leake in a trade from the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, but they sit 4 1/2 games behind the Minnesota Twins in the race for the second AL wild card spot. The last-place Athletics spent their week helping another AL West opponent keep its wild card hopes strong by dropping three in a row to the Los Angeles Angels and will get more chances to impact the postseason races with upcoming series against Seattle, the Angels, Houston and Boston. Seattle will send Yovani Gallardo to the mound on Friday against Oakland left-hander Sean Manaea.
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, NBCSN California (Oakland), ROOT Northwest (Seattle)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics LH Sean Manaea (9-8, 4.55 ERA) vs. Mariners RH Yovani Gallardo (5-10, 5.78)
Manaea snapped a string of six straight winless starts by holding the Texas Rangers to two runs on seven hits and a walk over five innings on Saturday. The Indiana native totaled just seven strikeouts in his last five starts after punching out 110 in 113 innings over his first 19 outings. Manaea is 1-2 with a 4.00 ERA in three starts this season against Seattle while totaling 16 strikeouts across 18 innings.
Gallardo is winless in five straight starts and took the loss in the last three while surrendering a total of 15 runs in 16 innings. The Mexico native issued five walks over 5 2/3 innings at the New York Yankees on Saturday while striking out four to mark the seventh time this season that he walked more than he struck out. Gallardo is making his fifth appearance of the season against Oakland and went 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA in the first four - three starts.
1. Mariners RHP David Phelps (elbow) was removed from Wednesday’s game and will undergo an MRI on Friday.
2. Oakland C Josh Phelgley (oblique) is expected to come off the disabled list when rosters expand on Friday.
3. Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez (shoulder) and LHP James Paxton (pectoral muscle) are both expected to throw off a mound this weekend.
PREDICTION: Mariners 4, Athletics 3