A franchise-worst losing streak left the Seattle Mariners in the AL West cellar, but they’re slowly climbing out. A sweep of the Oakland Athletics would leave the Mariners on the verge of catching their division rival.
Seattle goes for its first three-game winning streak in nearly a month Wednesday when it concludes this series at Safeco Field.
The Mariners (47-62) led the then-last-place A’s by 5 1/2 games after extending their winning streak to three with back-to-back victories in Oakland on July 4-5, but Seattle lost its next 17 games to fall to the bottom of West.
Manager Eric Wedge’s team, though, has won four of six since to move within 1 1/2 games of the A’s (49-61).
Wells has been a great addition so far, going 4 for 11 with three RBIs in three contests - including a two-run homer Tuesday in Seattle’s 4-2 victory.
Charlie Furbush(notes) (1-3, 3.78 ERA) has yet to make a significant contribution since coming over from the Tigers in that same deal, but the rookie left-hander can change that as he makes his first Mariners start Wednesday. Furbush, who takes Erik Bedard’s(notes) spot in the rotation after the veteran left-hander was traded to Boston over the weekend, made his Seattle debut Sunday in an 8-1 loss to Tampa Bay, allowing one run in one inning of relief.
Furbush was used primarily out of the bullpen with Detroit, with just two rough starts among his 17 appearances, but the Mariners would like to stretch him out.
“We’ll get him in the rotation and build him up from there,” Wedge told the club’s official website.
Furbush makes his first start against Oakland after throwing two innings of shutout relief against the A’s on July 20.
The All-Star left-hander makes a third attempt to reach 10 wins after allowing 11 runs in 10 innings while losing his last two starts.
“The stuff still looks good, you just go through some periods where you don’t have your best starts. And I think that’s all it is right now,” interim manager Bob Melvin told the A’s official website after Gonzalez allowed five runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings of Friday’s 9-5 loss to Minnesota.
Gonzalez threw seven strong innings in a 7-1 home win over Seattle on April 3 to improve to 5-1 with a 3.10 ERA in eight career starts in this matchup.
He’ll get his first look at Seattle’s Dustin Ackley(notes), who tripled for the second consecutive game Tuesday and now has 20 extra-base hits through 38 games - the second-most for any rookie in club history through 50 games.
Oakland shortstop Cliff Pennington(notes) is expected to miss a second straight game after being diagnosed Monday with Bell’s palsy - a disorder of the nerve that controls movement of the face muscles.