Two teams with struggling offenses hope to turn solid pitching into better results when the Seattle Mariners and host Oakland Athletics open a three-game series Tuesday night.
Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales (3-7, 3.41 ERA) and A's righty James Kaprielian (0-4, 6.31) are the scheduled starters in the first of what will be seven meetings between the American League West clubs in 13 days.
The Mariners will be looking to reclaim the form that saw them go 6-3 and win three consecutive series on their most recent trip to Baltimore, Texas and Houston.
But they lost that momentum on a 3-8 homestand in which they lost series to Boston, Minnesota and the Los Angeles Angels, the latter a five-gamer in which Seattle won just once.
The Mariners totaled eight runs in their eight losses on the homestand, which was capped by 3-0 and 4-0 shutouts at the hands of the Angels.
"I guess the best way to put it was: It rains, it pours," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "We're in a slump right now. We've not played good baseball for a number of different reasons."
Seattle made multiple roster moves Monday: Right-handed reliever Ken Giles was reinstated from the injured list, infielder Kevin Padlo was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma, and relievers Roenis Elias and Sergio Romo were designated for assignment.
The Mariners have lost four in a row with Gonzales on the mound, a stretch in which he has gotten a total of six runs of support. He pitched twice on the homestand, losing 4-3 to Boston and 5-0 to Minnesota despite allowing just three runs in 11 innings.
His 3.41 season ERA is the best among the 11 major-league pitchers with seven or more losses this season.
The second- and third-best ERAs on that list also are on teams in this series: The A's Frankie Montas (3-7, 3.53) and Mariners' Chris Flexen (2-8, 4.23).
Gonzales' last win came May 23 at home against the A's, a game in which he allowed a season-high five earned runs but received his second-most run support in a 7-6 win.
The 30-year-old has gone 8-3 in his career against the A's with a 4.04 ERA in 16 games (15 starts).
Chad Pinder had a solo home run for the A's in the earlier head-to-head with Gonzales.
Since that meeting, the A's have homered 22 times in 24 games, but just six have come with at least one man on base. Oakland is 6-18 in those games.
The A's got stellar starting pitching from Montas, Cole Irvin and Jared Koenig in their just-completed home series against Kansas City but totaled just five runs of offense, with four coming in support of Koenig in Sunday's 4-0 win.
Oakland was outscored 7-5 in losing two of three to the Royals.
Sunday's four-run production equaled the most in their last nine home games and came one day after A's manager Mark Kotsay questioned whether his team was intimidated by its own home ballpark.
"We're gonna have to figure something out," he said. "Whether it's a ballpark issue, when we come back here, it's an underlying tone offensively that's hanging over us."
Kaprielian pitched five innings without a decision in a 7-5 win at Seattle in the earlier series. He's gone 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA in four starts since.
The 28-year-old is 1-0 with a 6.95 ERA in six games (three starts) in his career against the Mariners.
--Field Level Media