Seattle (69-44) at Cleveland (46-67)

Fair Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 76° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Thu Aug 7, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

A day after addressing their concerns in the bullpen, the Seattle Mariners’ focus turns to straightening out starter Freddy Garcia.

The 27-year-old right-hander looks to snap his prolonged losing streak when the Mariners take on the Cleveland Indians in the decisive game of their series at Jacobs Field.

Since winning six straight decisions, Garcia is 0-5 with an unsightly 9.50 ERA in seven outings. He is coming off his shortest outing of the season, surrendering seven runs and seven hits over 1 2-3 innings in Friday’s 12-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

“There are a couple of mechanical things we’re working on,” Mariners manager Bob Melvin said. “We’re trying to be upbeat with him. We’re trying to get him some success.”

Seattle fortified its bullpen by adding two arms on Wednesday. Closer Kazuhiro Sasaki, on the DL since June 5 with fractured ribs, rejoined the club, but wasn’t activated and hard-throwing right-hander Armando Benitez was acquired from New York Yankees for outspoken right-hander Jeff Nelson.

Nelson criticized Seattle’s management last week for not making a trade before the non-waiver deadline in order to help the club excel in the postseason. Yet, the Mariners maintain that those comments didn’t prompt the deal.

The Indians snapped Joel Pineiro’s eight-game winning streak with Wednesday’s 10-6 victory. Despite the setback, the Mariners have won six of eight.

Travis Hafner homered and drove in a career-high four runs, and Coco Crisp had a leadoff homer and finished with three of the Indians’ 15 hits as Cleveland ended a five-game skid.

STANDINGS: Mariners - 1st place, AL West. Indians - 4th place, 14 1/2 GB, AL Central.

MARINERS PROBABLE STARTER: Garcia (9-11, 5.57 ERA). Garcia is 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA in eight career appearances, including seven starts, against Cleveland.

INDIANS PROBABLE STARTER: Billy Traber (5-6, 4.71 ERA). Traber is 1-1 with a 7.02 ERA in his three starts since tossing a one-hitter against the Yankees on July 8. The 23-year-old left-hander is coming off his worst start of the season, allowing six runs and five hits over two innings in Friday’s 10-3 loss to Texas. Traber is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in two career appearances, including one start, against Seattle.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mariners - Ichiro Suzuki, .337 avg., 27 SBs and 81 runs; Bret Boone, 29 HRs and 89 RBIs. Indians - Milton Bradley, .327 avg., 56 RBIs, 60 runs and 16 SBs; Matt Lawton, 15 HRs.

SEASON SERIES: Mariners, 6-2.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Mariners - Seattle is 27-11 against left-handed starters this season. … 1B John Olerud finished 1-for-4 with a three-run homer Wednesday and is hitting .345 (10-for-29) with five homers and 18 RBIs over his last eight games. … RHP Shigetoshi Hasegawa hasn’t allowed a run in his last 23 innings, dating to June 1. The club record is 34 1-3 innings by Mark Langston in 1988. Indians - Jacobs Field has yielded the fewest home runs of any park in the AL this season with 88, with the Indians hitting 46. … Cleveland is 5-14 since the All-Star break. … Manager Eric Wedge moved OF Jody Gerut up to the second spot and dropped 3B Casey Blake to No. 5 one night after the top five in the order went 0-for-20 in a 2-1 loss. The new top five went 9-for-23 with six runs and five RBIs on Wednesday.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mariners - 34-20 on the road; Indians - 26-28 at home.

INJURIES: Mariners - 3B Jeff Cirillo (shoulder), 15-day DL; INF Greg Colbrunn (wrist), 15-day DL; SS Carlos Guillen (pelvis), 15-day DL; RHP Sasaki (ribs), 15-day DL. Indians - INF Ricky Gutierrez (back), 15-day DL; SS Omar Vizquel (knee), 15-day DL; OF Lawton (finger), 15-day DL; OF Ellis Burks (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Jason Bere (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dave Elder (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Bob Wickman (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Mark Wohlers (elbow), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

F. García Atl vs. B. Traber Bos
12-14 Record 6-9
4.51 ERA 5.24
144 K 88
71 BB 40
1.33 WHIP 1.54