back to top

Mariners aim to gain ground in wild-card race vs.

Left-hander Robbie Ray will take aim at his fifth career 200-strikeout season when he attempts to get the Seattle Mariners back on the right track at the expense of the host Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.

Oakland’s JP Sears limited the Mariners (81-66) to one hit and one unearned run over five innings, and four relievers threw hitless, scoreless ball the rest of the way, as the A’s (54-94) dealt the Mariners a costly 4-1 defeat in their playoff pursuit in the series opener.

When a win would have allowed Seattle to move into the second American League wild-card position, Tuesday’s defeat prevented the Mariners from further distancing themselves from the pursuing Baltimore Orioles, who will begin play Wednesday five back.

The Mariners hope Ray (12-10, 3.72) can turn things around both for the team and for himself. He hasn’t seen the sixth inning in either of his past two starts, roughed up for a total of nine runs and 16 hits in 10 innings by the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels.

The 30-year-old managed 11 strikeouts in those games, bringing his season total to 194. Six more and Ray would join Max Scherzer as the only pitchers to record 200 or more strikeouts five times in the past seven seasons.

The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner has gone 1-1 in three starts against the A’s this season, striking out 28 in 18 2/3 innings while allowing just five runs. He has started five times in his career against Oakland, going 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA.

Ray has never gone head-to-head with Tony Kemp, a left-handed hitter whose three-run home run allowed the A’s to overtake the Mariners in the fifth inning on Tuesday.

The A’s are out of the playoff race, but Kemp and Seth Brown are racing each other for Best Month of September honors. Kemp’s 2-for-4 effort Tuesday raised his average this month to .321 with three homers and 12 RBIs. After going 0-for-3, Brown is at .283 with six homers and 12 RBIs.

“We have a friendly competition going on,” Kemp admitted. “We look at each other and say, ‘Hey, don’t wait up for me today.’ If he gets a hit, I want to get a hit. We feed off each other. He has a lot more homers than me, but I’m just trying to keep up.”

While Kemp was providing the big blow of the game out of the Oakland leadoff spot Tuesday, Mariners leadoff hitter Julio Rodriguez struggled in his return from a sore back. He went 0-for-4, including a flyout with the bases loaded and a double play grounder.

Seattle fell to 13-28 on the season when it hasn’t homered.

“The way the game is today, you need to hit homers,” Mariners manager Scott Servais insisted. “It’s really hard to win when you don’t. It’s hard to put four or five hits together in an inning.”

Seattle will try to resume its long-ball display at the expense of A’s right-hander James Kaprielian (3-9, 4.70), who is winless in last six starts, going 0-4 with a 5.76 ERA. He pitched well in his last outing, limiting the Houston Astros to two runs and five hits over six innings in a 5-2 road defeat.

The 28-year-old will be making his fifth start of the season against the Mariners, with the A’s having won three of the first four. He’s gone 2-1 with a 5.17 ERA in nine career head-to-heads with Seattle, including six starts.

Rodriguez has owned his head-to-head with Kaprielian, going 6-for-12 with two triples and a homer.

Latest articles

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Houston Astros

Of greater significance, Verlander posted a 1.75 ERA, the lowest by a qualified AL starter...

Orioles call up top prospect Gunnar Henderson

The Orioles officially selected the contract of top prospect Gunnar Henderson. In corresponding moves, infielder...

White Sox Crushed 21-5 in Finale vs. Astros;...

The Chicago White Sox took a shellacking from the Houston Astros on Thursday afternoon. Starter...

Resurgent Rangers ride into two-game set vs. Rockies

After a big spending spree last winter, the Texas Rangers were expecting a better return...

More like this

Assessing the Chicago White Sox’s offseason outlook

Aside from a new manager, the White Sox don’t seem destined for a major...

Offseason outlook for the Los Angeles Angels

Despite the continued excellence of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, the Angels had another...

Previewing the 2022-23 free agent class: Designated hitter

Obviously, any hitter is capable of serving as a DH. Many of the players...

World Series Houston Astros vs. Philadelphia

The Phillies are red-hot, but the Astros are even hotter. Houston has yet to...

Mariners could be in position to deal from

Going into next year, the Mariners have considerable depth in their rotation. Luis Castillo...

Guardians have some tough middle infield decisions to make

Two months ago, I wrote about Andres Gimenez’s 2022 breakout and how it was a...