By defeating Oakland 6-3 behind Hisashi Iwakuma’s splendid pitching Friday night, the Mariners have a chance to win another series when they and the A’s meet Saturday.
GAME: Athletics (18-19, 2nd, AL West, -5.0 GB) at Mariners (17-19, 3rd, AL West, -5.5 GB). GAME #: 37. SERIES: 2nd of 3 games. MEETING: 6th (Mariners lead 3-2). WHEN: Saturday, 6:10 p.m., Safeco Field. STREAKS: Mariners W 2; Athletics L 5. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
Thanks mainly to Hisashi Iwakuma’s splendid pitching Friday night in Seattle’s 6-3 victory over Oakland at Safeco Field, the Mariners have an opportunity Saturday to supplant the Athletics in second place in the AL West. Friday’s victory brought the Mariners (17-19) to within a half a game of the A’s (18-19). This is a big deal for a franchise that usually settles into last place by early May and stays there.
The last time a Seattle club stood higher than third in the division standings on May 11 was 2003, when Bob Melvin, who now occupies the Oakland dugout, was in his first year of managing the Mariners. In all but two years since, the Mariners have been in last place by May 11, most of those years doomed to remain there.
Given the manner in which Iwakuma has pitched — he has the best ERA in the American League since the 2012 All-Star break at 2.22 — the Mariners are going to have a hard time achieving a nadir point again. If they decent consistency out of the back end of their rotation, they have a shot at respectability.
Brandon Maurer (2-4) will be tasked Saturday with moving the Mariners past Oakland, losers of five in a row and 15 of their past 21. Maurer couldn’t get the job done the last time he saw the A’s, losing 8-2 April 4, but Saturday he draws the luckless Jarrod Parker (1-5, 7.34 ERA), who has pitched into the seventh inning in just one of his starts.
MARINERS: RHP Brandon Maurer (2-4, 6.07 ERA, 1.44 WHIP)
The 24-year-old Maurer, a Newport Beach, CA., native in his first major league season, will make his seventh start and second against the Athletics. Since getting blown out in his first two MLB appearances, Maurer has alternated wins and losses and is coming off a 7-2 setback administered by the Baltimore Orioles. Maurer had his best outing April 25, when he did not allow an earned run in 6.1 innings in a 6-0 win over the Angels.
ATHLETICS: RHP Jarrod Parker (1-5, 7.34 ERA, 1.98 WHIP)
The 24-year-old Parker, a Fort Wayne, IN., native in his third major league season, and second with the Athletics, will make his eighth start and second against the Mariners. Parker has allowed four or more earned runs three times. His only win came April 30 when he beat the Angels 10-6.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
|5/11||Sat||vs. Oak||RHP Brandon Maurer (2-4) vs. RHP Jarrod Parker (1-5)|
|5/12||Sun||vs. Oak||LHP Joe Saunders (2-4) vs. LHP Tommy Milone (3-4)|
|5/14||Tue||at NYY||RHP Felix Hernandez (5-2) vs. TBA|
|5/15||Wed||at NYY||RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (3-1) vs. TBA|
|5/16||Thr||at NYY||RHP Aaron Harang (1-4) vs. TBA|