Gausman, Gallardo meet in Orioles-Mariners opener
SEATTLE — For fans looking to catch a glimpse of a Cy Young Award winner, Safeco Field will not be the place to be this week.
The Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners, two teams fast fading to the fringe of the American League’s wild-card race, open a three-game series Monday night, and the pitching matchups show why the clubs are slumping.
The Mariners, who were just swept at home by the Los Angeles Angels in a four-game series, going from sole possession of the second AL wild-card spot to two games out, haven’t yet named a starter for Tuesday. (It is likely someone who wasn’t on the major league roster this weekend, or perhaps even this season.)
The other five pitchers scheduled to start in the series? Baltimore’s Wade Miley, set to pitch Wednesday, has the best ERA among them at 5.19.
The Monday opener will feature Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman (8-8, 5.21 ERA) against Mariners right-hander Yovani Gallardo (5-7, 5.38).
Gallardo is the lone member of Seattle’s projected Opening Day rotation who is not on the disabled list, and he was demoted to the bullpen for more than a month this season.
After a 6-3 trip put Seattle a season-high three games above .500, the Mariners (59-60) returned home to get swept by the Angels.
“It wasn’t a good weekend, no doubt,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We have to get back going the right direction again, in all facets of the game. We struggled pitching-wise at times this weekend, we didn’t run the bases real well, the offense couldn’t really get clicking, the defense — it happens. Unfortunately, we hit a bad spot here, a bad patch at home.”
It came on Edgar Martinez Weekend, when the Mariners retired the jersey No. 11 of their former designated hitter and the team’s hitting coach of the past two-plus seasons.
“We can’t let it become more than that: We have to keep it at a bad weekend,” Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager said. “It was a really bad weekend. It’s really a shame with all the Edgar stuff going on here. What a great tribute they’ve been doing here. For us to come out and not back that up is really disappointing.
“If we dwell on this, then it spirals into a couple weeks. Our job is to try to flip the script as fast as we can.”
The Orioles (58-60) are coming off a split of a four-game series at Oakland, which has the second-worst record in the AL, after opening their trip by losing two of three to the Angels.
“We’re going to Seattle, trying to win baseball games,” Orioles manager Showalter said Sunday. “It doesn’t leave you here, there. You’re always trying to say this means this and that means that — it means you’re trying to get ready to play a baseball game tomorrow and try to win and finish up what could be a good road trip for us if we do well in Seattle.”
The Orioles took a 9-3 loss Sunday against Oakland. They haven’t been above .500 since June 12, yet they are still just 2 1/2 games back in the wild-card race — although there are four teams between them and the Angels, including the Mariners.
“Every game’s big right now, so when you lose, you feel like you had to have that one,” said Baltimore right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who took the loss Sunday. “I don’t know. Just frustrated right now.”
The Orioles’ problem has been a lack of consistency.
“It’s just about playing baseball — we’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing,” Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado said. “One day, we come out there and we play as a team, and the other day, we miss opportunities. We’ve just got to stick together, keep doing what we’re doing. We’ve got a great team. We’ve got a great lineup. We’ve got a great pitching staff. Things haven’t turned out the way we’d like them to be, but we’re going to keep fighting until the end.”
Gausman is 0-2 with a 3.20 ERA in three career starts against the Mariners. Gallardo is 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA in two starts against the Orioles, for whom he pitched in 2016 before being traded to Seattle for outfielder Seth Smith in the offseason.