|7:10 PM PT8:10 PM MT9:10 PM CT10:10 PM ET22:10 ET2:10 GMT10:10 7:10 PM MST9:10 PM EST9:40 PM VEN6:10 UAE (+1)9:10 PM CT, September 1, 2017
Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington Attendance: 19,030
Leake faces A's in Mariners debut
SEATTLE -- If ever there were a baseball team that needs to feel the comforts of home, it is the Seattle Mariners, who are coming off a 5-7 road trip.
The Oakland Athletics probably use a change of scenery as well.
The two teams meet Friday in the opener of a three-game series at Safeco Field.
After the Mariners (66-68) started their recent East Coast road swing on a positive note, winning four of six against Tampa Bay and Atlanta, they lost their last five, the final two against the Yankees in New York, then a three-game sweep at Baltimore.
That losing spell was a setback in the Mariners' wild-card hunt, leaving them 4 1/2 games behind the second American League wild-card spot, currently held by the Minnesota Twins. At one point during the road trip, the Mariners were a half-game out of the second wild-card position.
"(It was a) disappointing end of the road trip here in Baltimore the way we did," Mariners manager Scott Servais said Wednesday. "But we'll regroup."
The Mariners' 8-7 loss to the Orioles on Wednesday was a real kick in the teeth. At one point, Seattle had a 6-2 lead, built on the strength of a six-run third inning with two-run singles by Nelson Cruz and Mike Zunino and a two-run double by Mitch Haniger.
However, Seattle surrendered the advantage as starter Ariel Miranda gave up four Baltimore homers, and reliever Marc Rzepczynski allowed Jonathan Schoop's go-ahead RBI single in the eighth.
The bullpen might have more problems as right-hander David Phelps left the Wednesday loss with elbow discomfort. Since being acquired from the Miami Marlins for four minor-leaguers on July 20, Phelps has gone 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA in 8 1/3 innings -- but this is the second time since then that elbow tenderness flared up.
Servais is preparing to lose one of his bullpen arms.
"He felt (it) on the last pitch he made," Servais said. "He was trying to throw a cutter, and he felt it right there. ... Obviously, he's a big part of our bullpen, trying to piece it together."
The Mariners will look to get on track behind the newest member of the team. Mike Leake, acquired in a trade with the Cardinals on Wednesday, will get the start. Seattle set minor league infielder Rayder Ascanio to St. Louis to obtain the 29-year-old right-hander.
Leake went 7-12 with a 4.21 ERA in 26 starts for the Cardinals this year, but he was in the midst of a big slump when he was dealt. In his past six starts, Leake was 0-4 with an 8.31 ERA. He gave up at least eight hits in four of those outings.
In two career starts against the A's, Leake is 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA. However, those outings occurred in 2010 and 2015.
Oakland (58-75) is trying to shake off its own recent struggles after getting swept in a three-game road series against the Los Angeles Angels. Left-hander Sean Manaea (9-8, 4.55 ERA) will get the nod for the Athletics on Friday following an off day.
The A's lost 10-8 to the Angels on Wednesday despite putting up a huge inning -- an eight-run fourth that included homers from Matt Olson and Bruce Maxwell. The big rally was a positive sign for the Athletics, whose lineup had struggled to break out in Anaheim.
"That's the positive part of it, and we have to keep our spirits up," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "Our record isn't great, but we're getting a lot of guys experience, and they're doing well with it. There are a lot of good things, we just couldn't finish it out."
In his most recent start, Manaea earned a win against Texas on Saturday, pitching five innings and allowing two runs with a walk and three strikeouts. For the season, Manaea is 1-2 with a 4.00 ERA in 18 innings in three starts against Seattle, and he is 3-2 with a 4.37 ERA in six career starts against the Mariners.
Updated September 1, 2017