The Seattle Mariners have ventured through what has been a tough start to the year while being well out of the mix. However, they have a challenging matchup ahead against the Oakland Athletics, who have pushed their way into the Wildcard picture.
A’s led by surging bats
The Houston Astros may hold a decisive edge in the AL West race throughout the season, but it has become an extremely competitive group of teams that have each made their pushes toward competing for playoff positioning albeit being in the wildcard picture. This has included the Athletics, who have made a surge forward having won seven out of their last 10 games played that has put them just one game behind the Cleveland Indians for the second wildcard spot heading into Saturday’s contest. This has seen them become one of the better teams in the AL as the year has worn that has seen their balanced roster push them forward. It has seen them excel with their core players leading the charge primarily at the plate this season. This has seen third baseman Matt Chapman put together a strong first half of the year as he’s batting .261 with 21 home runs, and 52 RBI that has him pace to hit 39 home runs and 96 RBI.
Meanwhile, second baseman Marcus Semien has stepped as a strong source of production throughout the season as he’s batting .269 with 13 home runs and 46 RBI. This saw him hit a pair of home runs with five RBI on the Fourth of July in the 7-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. Oakland has been able to push forward behind the play of their balanced offensive attack, but it will need to be their pitching that lifts them on the road against the Mariners as the team will turn to right-hander Chris Bassitt on Saturday afternoon. Bassitt has put together a solid year as he holds a 5-3 record along with a 3.80 ERA, and a .211 opposing batting average. He has been on an upward trend winning two of his last three outings, which should bode well against Seattle. If he’s able to stay on track on the road, it should push them to another win on the road.
Mariners trending south
The Mariners are far removed from the team that had gotten off to a blazing start to the year that held one of the best records in the majors. Seattle has since fallen back down toward being well under the .500 mark while shipping away a couple of their primary offensive factors in Edwin Encarnacion and Jay Bruce prior the All-Star break. This has seen them fall toward being 12.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians for the second wildcard spot while they have dropped six out of their last 10 games heading into Saturday’s contest. They have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the league but they have some bright spots along the roster that gives some reason for optimism. This has seen first baseman Daniel Vogelbach, who has put together a career-best campaign that has helped him earn his first All-Star selection as he has 20 home runs and 49 RBI despite batting .244.
Shortstop Tim Beckham has also been a bright spot offensively as he’s heading toward a career-best year as he has 14 home runs and 39 RBI that has put him on the trajectory for 25 home runs and 69 RBI, which would both be career-high numbers. However, the Mariners are 21st in the majors in batting average that has been one of their weak spots offensively. That said, it’s going to come down to their pitching as left-hander Marco Gonzales has had his ups and down throughout the year holding a 9-7 record with a 4.39 ERA, and a .280 opposing batting average in 19 starts this season. Although Gonzales has picked it up over the last month winning four consecutive starts prior to his last outing against the Houston Astros, it has been difficult to trust him to provide a dependable outing this year. Keep in mind, Gonzales had dropped five straight starts that is exemplary of how uneven his performance has been on the mound. Given that being the case, it should lean in favor of the Athletics on Saturday afternoon.
- Mariners are 1-4 in Gonzales’ last five home starts against a team with a winning record.
- Mariners are 1-4 in Gonzales last five home starts.
- Mariners are 0-4 in Gonzales’ last four starts during Game 2 of a series.
- Athletics are 5-1 in their last six games overall.
- Athletics are 5-1 in their last six games on grass.
- Athletics are 4-1 in their last five games against a team with a losing record.