After a less than stellar home stand to close August, the Seattle Mariners started September with a bang. There was a lot to like in the Mariners taking two of three against the A’s in Oakland, a potential place they would have to play if they land the second Wild Card. With the wins, Seattle pulled to win a .5 game of the Tigers for that second Wild Card, and they stand 3.5 games back of the struggling A’s for that first Wild Card spot. After dropping the series opener on Labor Day, the Mariners battled back to take two one run victories, holding off a late Oakland rally to win 6-5 on Tuesday and rallying to support King Felix with two late solo home runs to take a 2-1 win in the rubber match.
Hernandez vs. Oakland. Oakland has been one of the best teams in the American League all year, but they can’t be pumped if they would have to face King Felix in the one game Wild Card playoff. In five starts against the A’s this season, Hernandez is 4-0. Seattle has won all five of those games, highlighting a 9-7 record Seattle has vs. the A’s. In the four wins, Hernandez has handcuffed Oakland holding them to two runs or less. Even in the no decision, Hernandez had held the A’s to four runs – three earned. With the Mariners needing every win as they chase the A’s and Tigers, yesterday’s win outdueling Jon Lester might have been the biggest, putting his 0-2 record in his last three starts behind him.
Up Next. The Mariners head into Arlington to play four against the last place Rangers. On paper it sounds great for Seattle, but Texas just took two of three games in Seattle last week. Seattle even has a losing record against the Rangers this season at 6-9. The Mariners will be throwing every starter except Hernandez: Roenis Elias, Hisashi Iwakuma, Chris Young, and James Paxton. Elias, a tough luck loser in his last three starts, is 1-1 against Texas this season. Young, who has struggled in his last two starts including not getting through the first in a 6-1 loss to Oakland on Monday, might be skipped in the rotation and replaced by Taijuan Walker.
Wild Card Watch. The A’s, who have lost seven games of nine, will be playing host to the other weak link in the A.L. West, the Houston Astros. The A’s just took two of three games in Houston, and the A’s are 10-6 vs. the Astros this season. The Tigers, whose lead has been trimmed to a .5 game and trail the Royals for the division lead by 1.5 games, are at Cleveland today to wrap up a four game set, and they will follow that with three against San Francisco at home. Detroit has taken two of the first three from the Indians, losing last night 7-0. The Giants, two back of the Dodgers for the N.L. West lead, hasn’t faced the Tigers this season.