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Mariners vs. Athletics Series Preview

MLB Baseball Spread

The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics have played to near identical records through the first two-plus weeks of the season. This will be the division rivals first series of 2017, and after the M’s won 12 of the 19 overall meetings a year ago which included taking all but one of nine meetings in the Coliseum, you have to imagine Khris Davis and company make it a point to show up for this extended series.

Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics
Dates: Thursday, April 20 – Sunday, April 23, 2017
Location: Oakland Coliseum

Since getting out to a dreadful 1-7 start, Scott Servais’ Mariners have been playing a much better brand of ball having come out on the right side of the scoreboard five of the last six times they took to the diamond. The winning stretch has chiseled $400 off their season-long deficit, and they’ll have a shot at getting back into the black throughout this series in Oakland.

The A’s opened the week with a nice series win over the Texas Rangers, and will look to keep the needle pointed in the right direction against another division rival to close it. Oakland hasn’t done much to impress, but it’s shown an ability to stay in games long enough to grind out wins as well as come up with numerous scoring barrages behind an offense that’s hit the eighth most home runs in the league.

Game 1 Probable Pitchers – Thursday, April 20, 2017, 10:05 p.m. ET ( MLB Network )

James Paxton vs. Cesar Valdez

Recently anointed the American League Player of the Week, Pax will take to the bump in Oakland for his fourth start of the season. The lanky lefty has been nothing short of dominant over his first 21 innings of work allowing 8 hits and not a single run to cross the plate. He’s also flashed solid command ( 4 BB ) and the ability to get batters out via the strikeout ( 22 ). He’s 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA and .200 BAA through three career starts against the A’s, and has allowed just 4 ER over 13+ innings pitched at the Coliseum.

Valdez will be making his first big leagues start since 2010. In a pair of Triple-A starts this season, he gave up 10 hits and 3 ER with 10 Ks over 10 innings of work.

Game 2 Probable Pitchers – Friday, April 21, 2017, 10:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Sean Manaea

Iwakuma owns some surprising splits to start the year. He was rocked for 6 ER over just 3 innings by the Rangers in his lone Safeco start, but has only allowed 6 hits and 3 ER combined in a pair of road starts that saw him go six innings in each. He’s excelled in a big way within the Coliseum where he checks in 6-1 with a 3.12 ERA and .256 BAA. Khris Davis is the only current Athletic he’s faced that’s taken him yard, twice.

Manaea has been unable to build off the second half of last season getting out to an 0-1 start and pitching to a bloated 5.51 ERA. Much of that has had to do with his inefficiency. He got yanked after throwing five innings of no-hit ball at the Astros due to issuing five free passes in his last turn. The lefty has one of the best arms in the league, but it’s a wild one right now. He has however won two of his three career starts against division rival Seattle.

Game 3 Probable Pitchers - Saturday, April 22, 2017, 4:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )

Ariel Miranda vs. Jharel Cotton

Miranda will toe the bump off throwing his first quality start of the year against the Marlins. He tossed seven innings of shutout ball and was able to pull the feat by not walking a single batter. He issued five free passes in his first two starts, and now faces an A’s club ranked in the middle of the pack at taking walks. Today will mark his first-ever start in Oakland.

Cotton’s lone decent start through three came against Kansas City who owns the worst scoring offense in the league. In his other two starts against the Angels and Rangers, he was pounded for 13 hits and 10 ER with a 7:6 K/BB ratio. Disturbingly, both of those outings came at home which is known to be a pitcher’s haven. He was rocked for four runs in 4.1 innings in his lone start against Seattle last year, and will look to avoid Robinson Cano’s bat which took him deep.

Game 4 Probable Pitchers - Sunday, April 23, 2017, 4:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )

Yovani Gallardo vs. Andrew Triggs

Seattle owns the league’s No. 21 ranked staff ERA ( 4.21 ). Playing a role in that ugly output has been the veteran right-hander who continues to find the going rough in the AL at the tail end of his career. Gallardo has been raked for 24 hits and 11 ER through just 16 total innings which has equated to a 6.19 ERA and ghastly 1.88 WHIP. The Mariners have dropped all three of his starts, but he did shine in his lone start at the A’s last season when he surrendered just 4 hits and an ER through six innings of work.

Triggs has been a godsend to the back end of Bob Melvin’s rotation through his first three starts. He’ll to the Coliseum bump for the third time this season looking to secure his fourth win after tossing 6 innings of 3 hit and 0 ER ball at the Rangers last time out. He’s yet to reach the 7th inning to date, but has allowed 4 hits or fewer in all three starts. He’ll look to avoid the big bats of Cano and Nelson Cruz who each took him deep last season when he came on in relief.