The Seattle Mariners are fading fast from the playoff picture, and things won’t get any easier on Wednesday.
Oakland ace Dan Haren will try to lead the Athletics to a three-game sweep of the stumbling Mariners at Safeco Field.
The Mariners (75-68) have been outscored 119-69 while dropping 15 of their last 17 games. That slide has pushed them 6 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL wild card race with 19 games left.
The Mariners are 10-5 against the Athletics (71-75) this season, but are trying to avoid their first three-game home sweep by Oakland since Aug. 4-6, 2006.
Frustration apparently got the best of Seattle manager John McLaren in Tuesday’s 7-4 loss, as he was ejected for arguing balls and strikes after starter Jarrod Washburn walked in a run. General manager Bill Bavasi met with McLaren for the second straight night, then with the entire coaching staff.
Now, the Mariners will be up against Haren (14-7, 3.03 ERA), who owns the best ERA in the AL. Haren is 6-3 with a 2.71 ERA in 10 career starts against the Mariners, but is 1-2 in three starts this year despite a 2.33 ERA.
Still, Haren has struggled recently, losing his last three appearances while allowing 15 runs and 27 hits in 16 2-3 innings. He is coming off the shortest outing of the season, a 5-3 loss in Texas on Friday in which he allowed five runs and a career high-tying 12 hits in 4 2-3 innings.
“When guys get hit around, when I get hit around, you lose your confidence,” Haren, who is 1-4 with a 5.27 ERA over his last seven starts, told Oakland’s’ official Web site.
Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre is 15-for-32 (.469) with two homers and six doubles all-time against the right-hander.
The Athletics’ Mark Ellis tied a career high with four hits Tuesday, giving the second baseman has 10 hits in his last three games to become the first Oakland player to accomplish the feat since Carney Lansford in 1998.
Ellis’ streak of 102 straight games without an error—an A’s record for second basemen—ended.
Seattle catcher Kenji Johjima left Tuesday’s game with a bruised left wrist suffered while breaking up a double play. McLaren said “it’s a lot better than we thought,” though Johjima, who is batting .285 with 14 homers and 27 doubles, is unlikely to play Wednesday.
Seattle will hand the ball to Miguel Batista (13-11, 4.73), who is 0-3 with an 8.72 ERA over his last four starts. He was roughed up for six runs in 6 2-3 innings in Friday’s 6-1 loss in Detroit.
Batista is 3-4 with a 5.97 ERA in 16 career appearances - nine starts - against the A’s. He has struggled against them this season, going 1-2 with a 6.62 ERA.
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