The Oakland Athletics have been one of the hottest teams over the last couple of weeks that has helped them march into the thick of the AL wild card picture. It has been anywhere nearly as encouraging for the Seattle Mariners being well out of the mix for any postseason contention. All of this sets the table for the first contest of a two-game set at home.
Mariners hoping Gonzales rights the ship
It has been a struggle for the Mariners up through this point in the season, falling out of the playoff picture entirely. Seattle has fallen well below the .500 mark that has put any chance of contending for the AL West division title nearly completely out of reach as they trail the Houston Astros by 21.5 games heading into Tuesday’s contest while things don’t fare much better in the wildcard picture sitting 15.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics and Cleveland Indians for the second spot. The Mariners have been a shadow of the team that got off to a strong start as they have moved on from a couple of their primary bats in Edwin Encarnacion and Jay Bruce midway through the first half of the season. It has only further put them in the hole of trekking through what has been a disappointing campaign. The Mariners have also been plagued by their lack of stability from their pitching staff as rank as one of the least effective units in the league.
The Mariners are currently 28th in ERA, 27th in opposing batting average, second-highest opposing slugging percentage, allowing the most hits and doubles, along with second-most home runs. They haven’t had any type of reliable play from their pitching staff as it has been a rollercoaster ride in that regard. Seattle is set to send left-hander Marco Gonzalez to the mound as he holds a 10-7 record with a 4.24 ERA, and a .273 opposing batting average in 20 starts this year. Gonzales has been one of the top arms in the last several weeks, winning five of his last six outings, the Mariners’ up-and-down play has simply been too difficult to trust. It doesn’t help that they are taking on an A’s team that has been hitting its stride over the last couple of weeks. If Seattle hopes to grab a win on Tuesday night, it will need Gonzales to continue his recent uptick on the road against one of their division rivals.
A’s surging up into the playoff picture
In the last couple of weeks, the Athletics have made a surge up the standings toward being square in the mix of playoff contention in the wildcard picture being a tie for the second spot with the Cleveland Indians. This has seen them win eight out of their last 10 games while riding a four-game winning streak heading into Tuesday’s contest. Oakland may not have any standout play from their core group, it has seen them get strong reliable play from All-Star third baseman Matt Chapman, who has proven to be the anchor in their lineup in the process. He has emerged as one of the young stars in the league as he’s hitting .273 with 21 home runs and 54 RBI in 94 games played. Chapman has been a bigger asset at home this year as he’s batting .318 with 14 home runs and 30 RBI. He may be the biggest bat in the lineup, it has seen others step up in the process during their recent surge up the standings.
Outfielder Ramon Laureano has emerged this month as a huge factor with his bat hitting .348 with five home runs and 11 RBI in nine games played this month. Laureano has been swinging an especially hot bat over the last week of games as he has hit four home runs in the last five games that have played a major part in their recent hot stretch. However, the difference in the contest will come from their pitching staff as the team is turning to right-hander Daniel Mengden, who holds a 4-1 record with a 4.73 ERA in his first eight games played that includes six starts. Although he has struggled in his last four starts, giving up 14 runs, but he has won his last three outings. Mengden has had success against the Mariners this season, holding a 1-0 record with a 3.86 ERA in 9.1 innings pitched. With the Athletics picking it up over the last couple of weeks, it should see him be able to move past Seattle at home.
- Athletics are 4-0 in Mengdens last four starts against a team with a losing record.
- Athletics are 4-0 in Mengdens last four starts against the American League West.
- Athletics are 4-0 in Mengdens last four starts when their opponent allows five runs or more in their previous game.
- Mariners are 1-5 in their last six games after allowing five runs or more in their previous game.
- Mariners are 1-5 in their last six games against a right-handed starter.
- Mariners are 0-4 in their last four road games against a team with a winning record.