The Seattle Mariners won’t be heading to the playoffs without
something just short of a miracle, but they’re sure making it
difficult for the Oakland Athletics to improve their chances of
repeating as AL West champions.
Visiting Seattle seeks a seventh victory in the last 10 meetings
with Oakland in the finale of a three-game series Wednesday
The Mariners (58-67) are trending toward their fourth straight
losing season as they sit 14 1/2 games behind first-place Texas in
the AL West. They’ve more than held their own against Oakland,
though, going 9-6 and winning each of the last three series.
After dropping Monday’s opener on Brandon Moss’ ninth-inning
homer, Seattle bounced back with a 7-4 victory Tuesday behind a
homer and three RBIs from Nick Franklin.
It marked just the third victory in the last 53 times the
Mariners had trailed after seven innings, putting together a
five-run eighth. Franklin was safe on a close play at the plate in
that inning, but he suffered a laceration on his left knee that
The injury could keep him out for up to one week.
“I want to say it was five stitches,” acting manager Robby
Thompson said. “He had a nice little deep gash in his left knee. He
wanted to stay in, just wanted new pants. It was necessary to take
care of that right away.”
Oakland (71-54), which closes the season with a three-game
series at Seattle, fell 1 1/2 games behind the Rangers for the
division lead, but it still holds the league’s second wild-card
Josh Donaldson and Nate Freiman each hit first-inning homers
Tuesday, but the A’s were held scoreless for the final eight
Catcher Derek Norris suffered a fractured left toe on the play
that also injured Franklin. Backup Stephen Vogt could get the start
as the A’s face Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma, who is coming off
another impressive outing.
Iwakuma (11-6, 2.95 ERA) allowed one run and struck out eight in
seven innings of Friday’s 3-1 win over Texas, and he’s given up
fewer than three runs in four of his last five starts.
The right-hander pitched well in his first two starts against
the A’s this season, winning both while allowing three runs over 13
innings. Iwakuma, though, gave up four runs in five innings of a
10-2 loss on June 16 before allowing four runs on three homers over
seven frames in a 6-3 defeat five days later.
Yoenis Cespedes homered off him April 2 and again June 21, and
the A’s slugger is 6 for 15 with three homers and two doubles
lifetime against Iwakuma.
Oakland counters with A.J. Griffin, who has struggled with his
Griffin (10-8, 3.76) walked a career-worst six in Oakland’s 6-4
win over Toronto on Aug. 11 before issuing five free passes while
giving up one unearned run in five innings of the A’s 3-2 victory
over Cleveland on Friday.
The right-hander, who threw 104 pitches in his last outing, had
walked 10 over his previous nine starts combined.
“The ball was up in the zone at times, which you don’t normally
see out of him, either,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He battled
himself. He was a little frustrated the whole game with his
Griffin had won each of his three career starts versus Seattle
while posting a 2.12 ERA before giving up four runs in six innings
of a 4-0 loss June 15.