The Seattle Mariners will travel to the Coliseum on Saturday afternoon as they prepare for the second game of their American League West series showdown versus the Oakland Athletics.
This has been an odd season in many respects for the Mariners. It started with general manager proclaiming that this would be a step-back season as the organization would use the year to retool in hopes of becoming a realistic contender in years to come. Then, the “Step-Back Mariners hit a home run in 15 straight games and opened the year 13-2, but have gone 10-27 since their hot start. Can Seattle get back on the winning track at the Coliseum on Oakland on Saturday?
Kikuchi getting sharper with time at MLB level
The 2019 Mariners might end up as one of the worst teams in franchise history. They rank near the bottom of the MLB in run differential and they are even worse in the field — on pace to set records for the most errors and worst fielding percentage in franchise history.
Hammering clutch home runs is just what Jay Bruce does. 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/gr5jf8MhKX
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) April 2, 2019
The Mariners will turn to left-hander Yusei Kikuchi for his 12th career MLB start on Saturday. The 27-year-old is 3-1 with a 3.43 ERA so far this season. He’s been particularly sharp as of late, winning three consecutive decisions and tossing quality starts in each of his last four outings. Kikuchi limited the AL-leading Minnesota Twins to just three runs (one earned) on five hits in six innings of work during his last start and opponents are now batting just .226 off of him.
Fiers turning season around in Oakland
The Athletics are expected to counter with veteran right-hander Mike Fiers for Game 2 against the Mariners on Saturday. At 33 years old, Fiers is showing he still has plenty left in the tank, allowing three earned runs or less in each of his last five starts. Fiers is three starts removed from tossing his second career no-hitter and he’s racked up three quality starts over his last five outings, but he still sports an unsightly 5.05 ERA through 11 appearances.
— Oakland A's (@Athletics) May 8, 2019
Fiers is just one start removed from an outing against Seattle. He gave up just one earned run on two hits in five innings of work in a no-decision at Safeco Field on May 13. Fiers has had his struggles against the Mariners in the past. He made seven starts against Seattle between 2016 and 2018, finishing 2-1 with a 6.55 ERA.
According to Baseball Savant, Fiers has limited the current Mariners’ roster to a slim .202 batting average in 101 plate appearances. StatCast projects Mariners hitters for an expected batting average of .247 and an expected slugging percentage of .458 off of Fiers heading into Saturday’s matchup.
- Mariners are 1-6 in their last 7 during game 2 of a series.
- Mariners are 2-12 in their last 14 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Mariners are 2-14 in their last 16 road games.
- Athletics are 9-2 in Fiers’ last 11 home starts.
- Athletics are 4-1 in Fiers’ last 5 home starts vs. a team with a losing record.
- Athletics are 6-2 in Fiers’ last 8 starts with 5 days of rest.