The Seattle Mariners hope to jump-start their offense when they begin a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., on Monday night.
The task will be formidable, however, because they’ll face Angels ace Shohei Ohtani (10-7, 2.68 ERA) in the opener.
Seattle dropped two of three over the weekend to the host Texas Rangers and sits in the second American League wild-card spot. The Mariners were held to four hits in a 5-3 loss on Sunday.
“We’ll let this one go, but we need to start playing a little bit better offensively,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “On the road, you have to hit. You’re not going to win games 2-1 or 3-2 on the road. You’re gonna have to put up a few more runs, and we will. We’ll get back to it.”
The Angels have built some momentum, winning five of their last six games. They took two of three against the visiting Minnesota Twins over the weekend.
Angels second baseman David Fletcher had two hits in Sunday’s 4-2 victory and is 12-for-33 (.364) during an eight-game hitting streak.
Ohtani, a right-hander, snapped a three-start losing streak on Tuesday when he tossed six scoreless innings in a 5-1 win over the Oakland Athletics.
The victory made Ohtani, 28, who also went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, the first player since Babe Ruth (1918) with at least 10 wins and 10 home runs in the same season.
“I feel like every time we’re out there, he does something special,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “You try not to take for granted what we’re seeing every night, but it’s pretty awesome to be a part of. These things don’t go by us lightly.”
Ohtani is 7-3 with a 1.70 ERA and 92 strikeouts over his last 10 starts, covering 63 2/3 innings.
The reigning American League MVP is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four career starts against Seattle. He tossed six scoreless innings against the Mariners on June 16 in Seattle.
Seattle will counter on Monday with right-hander Luis Castillo (5-4, 2.71), who is set to make his third start since being acquired from the Cincinnati Reds at the trade deadline.
Castillo, 29, received a no-decision after tossing eight scoreless innings against the New York Yankees on Tuesday. Castillo and Yankees ace Gerrit Cole threw a combined 15 shutout innings before Seattle won 1-0 in 13 innings.
“That’s one of the best major league games I’ve ever watched. The pitching in that game was unbelievable on both sides,” Servais said.
Castillo will face the Angels for just the second time in his career. On Aug. 5, 2019, while he was with the Reds, he allowed two runs and struck out 13 over seven innings in a 7-4 victory.
Seattle outfielder Mitch Haniger is batting .400 (16-for-40) with two home runs and five RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak.
Curt Casali made his Mariners debut on Sunday, going 0-for-2 with a walk, and will serve as the team’s backup catcher after Luis Torrens was outrighted to Triple-A Tacoma.
Casali was acquired from the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 2 and came off the injured list (right oblique strain) Thursday.