Seattle is coming to Baltimore for its lone visit of 2019, and the streaking Mariners will play an Orioles team that's once again struggling. The two teams play a weekend series that begins on Friday.
The Mariners are heading to Baltimore riding a five-game winning streak after a 6-5 victory over the host Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday afternoon. Seattle got the win in 11 innings when Shed Long scored on a double play.
That victory completed a three-game sweep of the Pirates, and in the Mariners' previous series, they won the final two games against the Chicago White Sox.
Long has been a big help to the Mariners since they moved him to the leadoff spot. He went 3-for-5 with two RBIs in Thursday's win, and he is 14-for-36 (.389) in the eight games since being moved to the top spot.
The 24-year-old rookie said he wants to leave a good impression in the final two weeks of this season heading into 2020.
"Every game for me is important, but definitely these last few games of the year," Long told MLB.com. "I definitely want to finish strong, where my name is always in the back of their heads for any considerations for next year."
Felix Hernandez (1-6, 6.31 ERA) will make what could be one of his last starts for the Mariners -- he's a free agent after the season -- and has a 6-4 career mark and a 3.36 ERA in 17 starts against the Orioles.
Seattle (65-88) has a bunch of young players trying to show their talents this September, so in the offseason, it will be interesting to see what the Mariners do about Hernandez. The veteran right-hander has been with the team since 2005.
Left-hander Richard Bleier is going to make his first major league start for Baltimore on Friday, the Orioles said after Thursday's loss. Bleier (3-0, 5.63) will basically be an opener with Aaron Brooks picking up more innings after him.
Bleier has made three appearances against the Mariners in his career, with no wins or losses and a 3.00 ERA in three total innings.
Baltimore has lost four straight, the latest an 8-4 loss to Toronto on Thursday night. The Orioles slipped to 49-104 for the season, the first year of the team's rebuilding process.
The team is looking toward the future, which is why they made the decision to shut down pitcher Hunter Harvey on Wednesday. Manager Brandon Hyde told the media that Harvey had been coming back a bit slowly from some soreness in his biceps, so the team decided to be cautious.
Harvey almost was at his innings limit and has had a number of health problems during his minor league days.
"We just feel he's thrown enough, and we're really happy with the year he's had and want him to take the offseason to get ready for spring training," Hyde told the media. "There are (nine) games to go, and we don't feel it's necessary to have him pitch any more."
In seven appearances, all in relief, Hunter is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA over 6 1/3 innings.
Trey Mancini continued his hot hitting in Thursday's loss. He went 4-for-4 with a pair of run-scoring doubles. Mancini has gone 15-for-32 while on a seven-game hitting streak, including four homers and 16 RBI.
--Field Level Media