Seattle left-hander James Paxton hasn’t been scored on in his first three starts and strives for another solid performance when the Mariners visit the Oakland Athletics in Thursday’s opener of a four-game series. Paxton allowed just eight hits and four walks while striking out 22 in 21 innings during the flawless outings.
The Mariners produced a season high for runs scored in Wednesday’s 10-5 victory over the Miami Marlins and won five of their past six games. Right fielder Mitch Haniger continues to swing a hot bat and went 3-for-4 with four RBIs to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. Oakland also recorded a season best for runs in Wednesday’s 9-1 victory over the Texas Rangers as left fielder Khris Davis slugged his seventh homer to tie for the major-league lead. Davis has gone deep three times in the past five games as he attempts to follow up last season’s career-high 42-homer campaign.
TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, ROOT (Seattle), NBC Sports California Plus (Oakland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners LH James Paxton (2-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Cesar Valdez (NR)
Paxton was just 6-7 with a 3.79 ERA in 20 starts last season but did record nearly five times as many strikeouts (117) as walks (24). The 28-year-old has long been viewed as a future standout by the Mariners but injuries have curtailed his progress and last season’s 121 innings are his most since he reached the majors in 2013. Paxton is 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA in three career starts against the Athletics.
Valdez is making his third major-league start and is appearing in a big-league game for the first time since June 10, 2010 when he was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 32-year-old went 1-2 with a 7.65 ERA and 1.95 WHIP in nine appearances (two starts) during the 2010 stint. Valdez was signed by Oakland as a minor-league free agent last November and was 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA at Triple-A Nashville when recalled to start for injured Kendall Graveman.
1. The Mariners won 12 of their past 13 games in Oakland.
2. Athletics CF Rajai Davis had two hits and scored twice on Wednesday after being hitless in nine at-bats over his previous three games.
3. Seattle SS Jean Segura (hamstring) could begin a rehab stint on Thursday and is expected to rejoin the Mariners in Detroit on Tuesday.
PREDICTION: Athletics 4, Mariners 1