The Seattle Mariners have fallen virtually out of the race in the AL West. They’re also in danger of fading from wild-card contention.
The Mariners try and avoid losing their ninth straight game when they wrap up their three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.
Seattle (73-61) has not won since beating Texas 4-2 on Aug. 24. That victory gave the Mariners a three-game wild-card lead, and moved them within one game of the Los Angeles Angels for the top spot in the West.
By losing a season-high eight straight games, though, the Mariners have fallen 6 1/2 games behind the Angels, and they trail the New York Yankees by two games for the wild card.
After Seattle completes this series, it travels to Yankee Stadium for a three-game set beginning on Tuesday.
The Mariners, who lost 2-1 to the Blue Jays on Saturday, are averaging just 3.1 runs and batting .261 during their losing streak.
“We need to hit better with runners on third base. We need to pitch better, make a pitch in certain situations,” said Seattle manager John McLaren, whose club went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position Saturday. “This is why we’ve lost eight in a row, we haven’t been doing those things.”
Jose Guillen was hitless in three at-bats, and is batting just .161 (5-for-31) with three RBIs during the losing skid. He had been hitting .412 (14-for-34) with three home runs and 11 RBIs in his previous eight games.
The Mariners have not lost nine in a row since dropping 11 straight from Aug. 10-20, 2006.
Jeff Weaver (6-10, 5.62 ERA) will take the mound trying to help Seattle stop the slide.
Weaver had his career-high four-start winning streak snapped on Tuesday, when he allowed five runs and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings but did not factor in the decision of a 10-6 loss to Los Angeles.
The right-hander, though, has still not lost since July 31. He is also 3-1 with a 2.12 ERA in his last five games away from Safeco Field.
Weaver has allowed just one run in eight innings during each of his two starts this season versus the Blue Jays. However, he has received just one total run of support in those two games, leaving him with a 0-1 record. Lifetime, he is 5-10 with a 5.03 ERA in 18 games - 17 starts - against the Blue Jays.
Toronto (69-66) starter A.J. Burnett (7-7, 3.70) comes in pitching his best ball of the season. He is 2-1 with a 1.63 ERA and a .149 opponents’ batting average over his last four starts.
Burnett allowed one run, four hits and five walks in seven innings of a 6-2, 12-inning win over Oakland on Monday.
“(Burnett) was great,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He’s going to (walk guys) every now and then. That’s nothing unusual for him.”
This will be Burnett’s first start of the year against Seattle. The right-hander made all three of his career starts against the Mariners last year, going 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA.
The Blue Jays have won two straight and four of five to pull within 6 1/2 games back of wild card-leading New York. Toronto has not swept a series since taking three games from the Texas Rangers from Aug. 3-5.
Third baseman Troy Glaus singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning Saturday, and is batting .391 (9-for-23) with two home runs and seven RBIs in his last seven games. However, Glaus is just 2-for-34 (.059) with 11 strikeouts in his career against Weaver.