The All-Star right-hander might need even better stuff Saturday night against the Seattle Mariners as the light-hitting A’s try to avoid getting shut out in three straight games for the first time in nearly 33 years.
A day after his $30.5 million deal was finalized, Cahill (2-0, 2.49 ERA) surrendered season highs of four runs and six hits in 4 2-3 innings of a 6-5, 10-inning loss at the Chicago White Sox on April 12.
Cahill, though, rebounded in Sunday’s 5-1 victory over Detroit, striking out a season-best nine in eight innings while giving up one run and four hits.
“I was a little off then,” he told the Athletics’ official website about the April 12 loss. “There might have been a little more adrenaline, just cause I was trying to prove myself. (Sunday) I was just throwing strikes and they weren’t hitting the ball too hard.”
Opponents are batting .177 against Cahill, who is 1-3 with a 2.80 ERA in six starts against Seattle. He struck out eight and allowed one run April 1, but needed 105 pitches to get through 4 2-3 innings of Oakland’s 6-2 season-opening loss to the visiting Mariners.
Cahill might not have much room for error Saturday considering Oakland (9-11) has scored three runs during a season-high three-game skid.
After their five-game winning streak in Seattle ended with Thursday’s 1-0 loss, the A’s fell 4-0 on Friday. Oakland hasn’t been shut out in three straight games since June 10-12, 1978.
The A’s, who have 12 hits - all singles - in this series, are batting .236 with the second-fewest runs in the AL (66).
“I’m obviously well aware of it and frustrated with it,” manager Bob Geren said. “The guys are frustrated about it. They are just going to have to snap out of it and keep battling.”
The left-hander did not get a decision in Seattle’s 5-2 win at Oakland on April 2 despite giving up just five hits and one run in 6 2-3 innings.
Vargas’ last three starts have come at home, with Seattle scoring three runs in each of those games, all losses.
The Mariners are batting an AL-worst .224 with 3.6 runs per game.
“(The lack of run support is) something that is out of our control,” Vargas told the Mariners’ official website after giving up two runs in six innings of Monday’s 8-3 loss to Detroit.
Vargas has gone 12 starts since his last win Aug. 14 at Cleveland. He is 1-1 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts against Oakland.
With Justin Smoak(notes) not expected to return from the bereavement list until Tuesday in Detroit, Adam Kennedy(notes) will likely make his fourth consecutive start at first base for Seattle. He homered Wednesday and Thursday, then improved his team-leading batting average to .333 with two hits Friday, including a two-run single.
Kennedy has never faced Cahill.