The Mariners got a piece welcome news in advance of the finale in their four-game series with the Angels Thursday night: Los Angeles not only scratched ace Jered Weaver, who has a long history of success against Seattle, from his scheduled start against Felix Hernandez, they have benched most of their regulars, according to the posted starting lineup.
No Mike Trout, no Albert Pujols, no Howie Kendrick. As for Weaver, he’s also healthy, but the Angels want to rest him and line him up to start Game 1 of the ALDS.
The Mariners dropped two of the three in series, including a 5-0 loss Wednesday night in which they had one hit off C.J. Wilson. Thursday night, the Mariners will try their luck against Wade LeBlanc (0-1, 6.88).
LeBlanc is 1-2 with a 10.32 ERA in three career starts spanning 11.1 innings against Seattle. He last faced the Mariners June 10, 2013 as a member of the Houston Astros, when he worked one inning of relief.
After the Athletics (83-69) lost at home Thursday to the Rangers, 7-2, completing a three-game sweep, Oakland is 1½ games ahead of the Mariners (81-70) for the second wild card spot. Kansas City (83-68), which, along with Detroit, was idle Thursday, is up two on the Mariners and will host the Central Division-leading Tigers (84-68) for three over the weekend.