Athletics-Mariners Preview

Shaky last week after signing a five-year extension, Trevor

Cahill was in complete control the last time he took the ball for

the Oakland Athletics.

The All-Star right-hander might need even better stuff Saturday

night against the Seattle Mariners as the light-hitting A’s try to

avoid getting shut out in three straight games for the first time

in nearly 33 years.

A day after his $30.5 million deal was finalized, Cahill (2-0,

2.49 ERA) surrendered season highs of four runs and six hits in 4

2-3 innings of a 6-5, 10-inning loss at the Chicago White Sox on

April 12.

Cahill, though, rebounded in Sunday’s 5-1 victory over Detroit,

striking out a season-best nine in eight innings while giving up

one run and four hits.

“I was a little off then,” he told the Athletics’ official

website about the April 12 loss. “There might have been a little

more adrenaline, just cause I was trying to prove myself. (Sunday)

I was just throwing strikes and they weren’t hitting the ball too

hard.”

Opponents are batting .177 against Cahill, who is 1-3 with a

2.80 ERA in six starts against Seattle. He struck out eight and

allowed one run April 1, but needed 105 pitches to get through 4

2-3 innings of Oakland’s 6-2 season-opening loss to the visiting

Mariners.

Cahill might not have much room for error Saturday considering

Oakland (9-11) has scored three runs during a season-high

three-game skid.

After their five-game winning streak in Seattle ended with

Thursday’s 1-0 loss, the A’s fell 4-0 on Friday. Oakland hasn’t

been shut out in three straight games since June 10-12, 1978.

The A’s, who have 12 hits – all singles – in this series, are

batting .236 with the second-fewest runs in the AL (66).

“I’m obviously well aware of it and frustrated with it,” manager

Bob Geren said. “The guys are frustrated about it. They are just

going to have to snap out of it and keep battling.”

They’ll get their second look at Jason Vargas (0-1, 4.37), who

will try to help the Mariners (8-13) win their season-high third in

a row.

The left-hander did not get a decision in Seattle’s 5-2 win at

Oakland on April 2 despite giving up just five hits and one run in

6 2-3 innings.

Vargas’ last three starts have come at home, with Seattle

scoring three runs in each of those games, all losses.

The Mariners are batting an AL-worst .224 with 3.6 runs per

game.

“(The lack of run support is) something that is out of our

control,” Vargas told the Mariners’ official website after giving

up two runs in six innings of Monday’s 8-3 loss to Detroit.

Vargas has gone 12 starts since his last win Aug. 14 at

Cleveland. He is 1-1 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts against

Oakland.

With Justin Smoak not expected to return from the bereavement

list until Tuesday in Detroit, Adam Kennedy will likely make his

fourth consecutive start at first base for Seattle. He homered

Wednesday and Thursday, then improved his team-leading batting

average to .333 with two hits Friday, including a two-run

single.

Kennedy has never faced Cahill.

Milton Bradley, the Mariners’ leader with 10 RBIs, is

questionable after being replaced in the third inning Friday due to

back spasms. An illness kept him out of the series opener.