If the Seattle Mariners are going to show improvement during their dismal season, they may as well start at home.
The Mariners look to avoid their longest home losing streak in almost 12 years Sunday when they attempt to salvage a win in the finale of their three-game series with the Washington Nationals.
The Mariners (24-44), owners of the worst record in baseball, are 14-21 at Safeco Field. They didn’t lost that many home games last season until Aug. 4, finishing 49-33 there.
Seattle saw its home skid reach six Saturday with a 5-2 loss to Washington (28-42). That came one night after it fell behind by six runs in the second inning and lost the series opener 7-6. The club last won at Safeco against Detroit on May 31.
The Mariners haven’t dropped seven consecutive home games since an eight-game slide from July 28-Aug. 12, 1996, when the team played at the Kingdome.
Jarrod Washburn (2-1, 6.09 ERA) will try to help Seattle get back in the win column as he looks for his first win in over a month.
The left-hander yielded one run and five hits in six innings of the Mariners’ 3-2, 10-inning win at Toronto on Monday. He’s posted a 3.63 ERA in his last three starts, but has an 0-1 record to show for his efforts. Since beating Texas on May 5, Washburn is 0-3 with an 8.06 ERA in six games - five starts.
Washburn will try to end that skid in his first start against Washington.
The Nationals, who haven’t swept a three-game series since beating the New York Mets from Sept. 24-26, hope Jesus Flores can continue his hot hitting. The catcher went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs on Saturday after going 2-for-5 with a two-run double on Friday.
Flores, who is hitting .327 with four homers and 23 RBIs in 32 games, has been splitting time with Wil Nieves, but Paul Lo Duca is expected to be activated from the disabled list soon. He’s currently on a rehabilitation stint with Class-A Potomac.
“There are a lot of at-bats left, but the way he’s (Flores) playing right now there’s no way we’re going to not play the kid and not feel like he’s part of our lineup,” Nationals manager Manny Acta said. “He’s doing it defensively, offensively. As far as Paul is concerned, he’s going to get his playing time, too. He’s going to get his starts. They’ll be at-bats for everybody.”
Tim Redding (6-3, 4.29), who has never started against Seattle, will try to help the Nationals to another victory. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 4.89 ERA in his last six starts, helping Washington go 6-0 in those games.
That streak figured to end after Redding gave up three runs and three hits, including a homer, in the opening inning of his last start Tuesday against Pittsburgh. Redding, though, settled down and allowed one run and five hits with another homer in the next five innings before leaving without a decision in Washington’s 7-6 victory.