The Seattle Mariners hope Julio Rodriguez’s absence is a one-day thing.
But the Mariners might have to finish off their pursuit of a long-awaited playoff berth without Eugenio Suarez.
The Mariners will look to snap a two-game losing streak Sunday when they visit the Los Angeles Angels in the third game of a four-game wraparound set between the American League West rivals in Anaheim, Calif.
Marco Gonzales (10-13, 3.89 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Mariners against Reid Detmers (5-5, 3.82) in a battle of left-handers.
Two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani again did it all for the Angels Saturday night, when he earned the victory by tossing seven scoreless innings while driving in Los Angeles’ first run and scoring the other run in a 2-1 win.
The loss dropped the Mariners (80-64) into the third and final wild card spot in the AL, a half-game behind the Tampa Bay Rays (81-64) and two games behind the Toronto Blue Jays (83-63).
Seattle hasn’t made the playoffs since 2001 — the longest drought in Major League Baseball.
The Mariners’ road back to the postseason got at least a little more challenging Saturday, when Rodriguez was scratched from the lineup due to a stiff lower back and Suarez was placed on the 10-day injured list with a broken right index finger.
Mariners manager Scott Servais said Rodriguez’s back began bothering him as he warmed up in the batting cage before the game. Servais said Rodriguez — who is batting .279 with 27 homers, 73 RBIs and 25 stolen bases in a season that will likely earn him AL Rookie of the Year honors — was day-to-day.
Suarez will be out for at least the next 10 days after he was injured while fielding a late-hopping ground ball in Friday’s 8-7 loss. The third baseman leads Seattle with 31 homers and 84 RBIs while playing solid defense at the hot corner and missing just one of the team’s first 143 games prior to Saturday.
Suarez is expected to visit with a hand specialist in Arizona next week. Servais said before the game it was possible Suarez could return and be limited to designated hitter duties before the end of the regular season.
“‘Geno’ is one of the toughest guys we have on our roster,” Servais said. “He’s played through a lot of things all year long that nobody really knows about and he usually performs very well when he’s maybe not at 100 percent. So we just have to wait and see where he’s at.”
Ohtani’s latest two-way performance ensured the Angels (63-82) would not be eliminated from playoff contention for at least one more day. A Mariners win in either of the final two games of the series will ensure Los Angeles misses the postseason for the eighth straight year.
On Saturday, Ohtani doubled home Mike Trout for the Angels’ first run in the first inning before he drew a leadoff walk in the fourth and eventually scored on a groundout by Matt Duffy.
“I love Aaron Judge like a son,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said of Ohtani’s main competition for the AL Most Valuable Player award. “But I’ll continue to say it: (Ohtani) can take over a baseball game like nobody else can.”
Neither Gonzales nor Detmers factored into the decision in their most recent starts. Gonzales allowed one run over six innings on Sept. 11, when the Mariners edged the Atlanta Braves, 8-7. Detmers gave up four runs over five innings on Monday in the Angels’ 5-4 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.
Gonzales is 10-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 20 career starts against the Angels. Detmers is 1-0 with a 3.12 ERA in two starts against the Mariners.