The Oakland Athletics are in Seattle Friday night for game one of a three game series with the Mariners. This series holds huge playoff implications for the Mariners, as after a bad road trip they return home and find themselves slipping out of contention for the American League wild card. Now 4.5 games back of the second wild card, the Mariners must win now or they are going to see their season end in disappointment once again. The Mariners will send newly acquired arm Mike Leake (7-12 4.21 ERA) to the mound to square off against the Athletics Sean Manaea (9-8 4.55 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PST from Safeco Field in Seattle.
Today’s MLB Pick:
Oakland Athletics (58-75) at Seattle Mariners (66-68) 9-1-17
I’m not sure any team had as bad of a night last night as the Mariners. They sat back and watched as the rest of their division loaded up with talent in one of the biggest August 31st trade deadlines ever. The Anaheim Angels were able to add two All-Stars to their lineup. They picked up Justin Upton from the Detroit Tigers, Upton is very quietly having a career type year in Detroit with 29 homers and 94 RBI. They were also able to add Brandon Philips for the Atlanta Braves. Philips is hitting just a shade under .300 this year and brings a great glove and speed to the Angels as well as veteran leadership to the clubhouse.
On top of the Angels loading up with talent the Mariners also saw the Houston Astros make a huge move as well as they picked up Cy Young award-winning pitcher Justin Verlander from the Detroit Tigers. Verlander has been solid this year and will add much needed starting pitching depth to an Astros team that already has the best record in the American League. Why did this hurt the Mariners so bad? They play 11 out of their last 29 games against the Angels and Astros and are neck and neck with the Angels for that last American league wild card spot. The Mariners big late season addition to counter all this action? They picked up a struggling Mike Leake from the St. Louis Cardinals, Leake will make his first start with his new team tonight.
A lot of people are laughing at the Mariners like Mike Leake is a bum that wasn’t worth acquiring. And I will be the first to agree that he is struggling at the moment. Over the course of his last ten starts he is just 1-6 and has seen his ERA swell to over 4.0. But in the first three months of the season? Leake was his normal solid self. 6-6 with a sub three ERA of just 2.97, Leake was having a solid campaign in St. Louis before the wheels feel off in July. Maybe a change of pace will do Leake well, and with the current status of the Mariner’s starting rotation, he can’t be any worse than Yovani Gallardo or Marco Gonzalez right? I look for Leake to be a decent addition to the Mariners rotation as they make one last desperate push for the playoffs.
I have spent most of the season ragging on the Oakland A’s for blowing up what was a decent core of talent. You can expect to see former A’s players all over several playoff teams as contending squads picked them apart to fill out their playoff rosters. At this point, they really have nothing left, and their lineup looks more like a triple-A squad rather than a contending major league club. Tonight’s starter Sean Manaea was one of the few promising youngster that stuck around in Oakland, but he has been struggling to finish out the season just like the rest of this Athletics team.
Manaea is 1-3 with a sky-high ERA of 9.17 over the last month. He has really struggle to get deep into games in August as three of his five starts he didn’t make it past the fourth inning. You see this a lot with the younger guys, they just can’t keep it together for the entire long season. Especially when you have been out of contention for months and have seen your team ship away what little talent you had to support you, that has to be tough on the young guys.
I don’t have any specific reason as to why I think Mike Leake will be better over the season’s last month. Generally moving from the National League to the American League is tough on pitchers but I really think St. Louis gave up on Leake and he will finish out the year on a high note in Seattle. He has a great opportunity today facing the A’s as they are in contention for the worst record in the American League and what little offensive might they had is now playing for other teams. I also like being on the other side of Sean Manaea right now as he has proven to be inconsistent at best and down right terrible at worst over his last 7-8 starts. Give me the home favorite in this one tonight from Seattle.
PICK: Mariners -139