The Oakland Athletics surged to the top of the American League wild card standings with a sizzling 2 1/2-week stretch during which they won 15 of 17 games. The Athletics carried a nine-game winning streak into Labor Day, but the momentum was abruptly stalled by the surging Los Angeles Angels, who went into Oakland and posted a dominating three-game sweep. The A’s now hit the road for 17 of 20 games and all are against playoff contenders except for this weekend’s series in Seattle.
The Seattle Mariners certainly are not playing like pushovers, particularly at Safeco Field, where they have won 11 of their last 14. They send ace Felix Hernandez to the mound for Friday’s series opener. Hernandez had his nine-game winning streak snapped in his last outing, but he has tossed a major league-high five shutouts – all coming since June 28 – to thrust himself into the running for a second AL Cy Young Award.
Athletics Mariners Betting
When: 10:10 PM ET, Friday, September 7, 2012
Where: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, CS California (Oakland), ROOT (Seattle)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH A.J. Griffin (4-0, 2.26 ERA) vs. Mariners RH Felix Hernandez (13-6, 2.51)
Missing nearly a month due to a shoulder injury did not have an adverse effect on Griffin, who came off the disabled list to limit Boston to one run on three hits in seven innings on Saturday. Griffin had pitched at least six innings in his first seven outings and has yet to allow more than three runs in nine career starts. He has not yielded a run in two of his three starts away from home.
Fernandez showed he’s human in losing to the Angels in his last start, allowing five runs – four earned – in 7 1/3 innings. He was nearly untouchable in August, posting three 1-0 victories that included a perfect game against Tampa Bay. Hernandez has dominated the Athletics in his career, logging a 13-5 record and a .226 batting average against in 25 career starts. He is 1-1 in four starts vs. Oakland this season.
1. Athletics RHP Brandon McCarthy was resting comfortably in a critical care unit Thursday following surgery Wednesday night to relieve an epidural hemorrhage in his head after he was hit by a line drive above the right ear in Wednesday’s game. McCarthy also suffered a brain contusion and skull fracture. The team provided no prognosis, but it’s likely his season is over.
2. In a scheduling rarity, Hernandez’s first three starts this season were against the Athletics, including the season opener in March.
3. The Mariners have won 67 games, matching their total from last year.