Oakland (75-85) at Seattle (60-101)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Seattle, WA
Temp: 64° F
  • Game info: 4:10 pm EDT Sun Sep 28, 2008
  • TV: CSBA, FSNW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Seattle Mariners headed into 2008 with high expectations. They’ll end the season as the American League’s worst team.

Seattle will complete one of the worst campaigns in franchise history on Sunday against the Oakland Athletics.

After an 88-win season in 2007, the Mariners expected the offseason acquisition of Erik Bedard to anchor their pitching staff and help them challenge the Los Angeles Angels for the AL West title.

Instead, the Mariners (60-101) became the first team in major league history to reach 100 losses with a payroll of at least $100 million. Seattle has had 10 losing streaks of at least four games, including a 12-game slide earlier this month.

That came after a purge began in June. General manager Bill Bavasi and manager John McLaren were fired in a one-week span, and underachieving veterans Richie Sexson and Jose Vidro were released.

Seattle, which hadn’t had a 100-loss season since 1983, didn’t have Bedard available after July 4 due to a shoulder injury requiring surgery. He went 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 15 starts.

The Mariners could decline to tender a contract for next season to the left-hander, making him a free agent immediately.

“If you make a bad stock pick you don’t hold on to it hoping that it’s going to come back,” team president Chuck Armstrong said. “You move on. We have that option.”

Seattle, though, can close out the season with a sweep. Kenji Johjima’s three-run homer keyed a six-run first inning on Saturday in a 7-3 win. That came after the Mariners held on for a 10-8 win on Friday.

With Ryan Feierabend scratched due to a tender shoulder, R.A. Dickey (4-8, 5.23 ERA) will make a spot start for Seattle.

The right-hander is 2-8 with a 6.88 ERA in 13 starts this year and first in nearly six weeks.

Dickey started against Oakland on July 10, and scattered four hits with four walks in seven innings of a 3-2 loss in 12. He’s 0-4 with a 6.82 ERA in nine appearances—six starts—against the A’s.

Oakland (75-85) has one more chance to match last season’s win total from then-rookie manager Bob Geren. Regardless of Sunday’s outcome, the A’s will finish lower than second in the AL West for the first time since 1998.

Slugger Jack Cust extended his hitting streak to eight games, but also had his AL-worst 196th strikeout this season on Saturday.

Josh Outman (1-1, 4.58) will make his first career start against Seattle to close out 2008. After two relief outings earlier this month, the rookie right-hander defeated Texas on Sept. 13, but has failed to win in two starts after that. He gave up three runs and 10 hits over six innings on Tuesday in a 6-4 defeat to the Rangers.

Geren told the team’s official Web site that he was pleased with what he saw from Outman, acquired in July in the deal that sent Joe Blanton to Philadelphia.

“He threw the ball well,” Geren said. “He was facing one of the best hitting teams in baseball and held his own. He kept us in the game.”

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Starting Pitchers

J. Outman Cle vs. R. Dickey Tor
1-2 Record 5-8
4.56 ERA 5.21
19 K 58
8 BB 51
1.64 WHIP 1.56

Scoreboard

Sunday, Sep 28