The Oakland Athletics hadn’t had a home game rained out in 16 years heading into this season, but now they’ve had two contests postponed at O.co Coliseum in a matter of days.
Following Friday’s postponement, the Seattle Mariners will turn to ace Felix Hernandez on Saturday to provide another strong pitching performance in their bid to bounce back from their first defeat.
After initially calling for a delay of 30-45 minutes, Friday’s game was canceled due to wet field conditions. Players on both sides decided to play one game Saturday rather than a split doubleheader, which will be rescheduled.
The grounds crew had worked to try to salvage the playing surface, which was in less-than-stellar shape after going uncovered the previous evening.
The A’s (2-2) had already played a doubleheader Wednesday after Tuesday’s matchup with Cleveland was washed out, the first rain postponement in Oakland since May 5, 1998.
”That’s probably the worst conditions I’ve seen in all my years in baseball," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said Friday. "It’s not safe."
Though it’s very early, McClendon’s club has a 2.13 staff ERA, and starters Hernandez, Erasmo Ramirez, James Paxton and Roenis Elias have held opponents to a .161 batting average.
Elias turned in the latest impressive outing for the Mariners (3-1) on Thursday, yielding one run and two hits in five innings in his major league debut before Hector Noesi gave up a walkoff homer to Coco Crisp in a 3-2 loss in 12.
Now Hernandez looks to build on his start Monday, when he allowed two earned runs and struck out 11 over six innings in a season-opening 10-3 road win over the Los Angeles Angels.
”You’ve just got to make good pitches, and we’re going to be OK this season,” Hernandez said. ”I can feel that. I made a couple of mistakes, but I felt really confident with these guys.”
The right-hander should feel good heading into Oakland, where he’s 4-0 with a 1.84 ERA in seven starts since 2011. The four-time All-Star did not allow a run over 14 2-3 innings in winning both his road outings against the A’s last season.
Josh Donaldson (2 for 14), Josh Reddick (4 for 27) and Jed Lowrie (3 for 18) have struggled when facing Hernandez, though Coco Crisp (8 for 27) and Alberto Callaspo (7 for 18) have had some success the past two seasons.
Crisp also has hit safely in all three games he’s played in 2014 while drawing four walks and stealing two bases.
Dan Straily is expected to take the mound for the first time in what’s expected to be his first full season in the majors. The right-hander went 10-8 with a 3.96 ERA in 27 starts last year, but was shuttled between Oakland and Triple-A Sacramento four times before being called up for good in July.
He solidified a spot in the postseason rotation after going 4-1 with a 2.00 ERA over his last six outings in the regular season.
Straily allowed three runs with eight strikeouts in six innings while not getting a decision in an 8-6 loss at Detroit in Game 4 of the AL division series, which the A’s eventually lost in five games.
Dominic Leone, Seattle’s top pitching prospect, could make his debut in relief after he was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Friday. Noesi was designated for assignment.
The right-hander has been on the fast track to the big leagues since being drafted in the 16th round of the 2012 draft out of Clemson. McClendon says he won’t hesitate to use Leone in an ”impactful” situation.