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News » Athletics-Mariners Preview 2009-04-30

Athletics-Mariners Preview 2009-04-30

Athletics-Mariners Preview 2009-04-30
Just over seven months ago, the Seattle Mariners finished with the worst record in the AL. Now, they're entering May alone atop the AL West for the first time in seven years.

The Mariners hope a three-game home series with the Oakland Athletics can help continue that impressive turnaround.

Seattle (13-9) ended 2008 by sweeping Oakland (8-11) in a three-game series at Safeco Field, but still finished at the bottom of the division with a 61-101 record - 39 games behind division-champion Los Angeles. It was also the first time the Mariners lost over 100 games in a year since 1983.

Rookie manager Don Wakamatsu's club has turned it around so far this year. The Mariners lead the West after the opening month of the season for the first time since 2002, finishing in third place following consecutive appearances in the AL championship series.

Solid pitching has been a big reason for Seattle's success. The staff ranks among the best in baseball with a 3.47 ERA after finishing 12th in the AL with a 5.07 ERA last year.

Seattle's starters allowed five runs and 12 hits in 21 innings over the last three games. However, the Mariners lost two of those contests at Chicago, including Wednesday's 6-3 defeat that saw relievers allow three runs in the last three innings.

"We talked about that from Day 1," Wakamatsu told the team's official Web site. "The most important thing (is) we want to be in ballgames and have a chance to win.

The rotation did that by posting a 2.70 ERA while helping Seattle complete a three-game road sweep of the Athletics from April 10-12.

Wakamatsu will give the ball to Carlos Silva (1-2, 6.14 ERA), who is looking to build on his first victory. The right-hander, who owns the highest ERA of any member of the rotation, allowed three runs and six hits in five innings of a 9-8 win over the Angels on Saturday.

"I tried to stay there and compete and help my team out, but it wasn't easy," Silva said. "Wakamatsu was ready to take me out in the third. I think he even made the call to the bullpen from the dugout, and I was like, 'Please, just give me a chance.'

"It was very important for me that he let me at least finish those five innings."

Silva is 2-2 with a 2.73 ERA in his last five starts against Oakland, including two complete games.

Oakland is seeking its fourth win in five games after beating Texas 4-2 on Thursday to split a rain-shortened, two-game series. Matt Holliday, who averaged nearly 26 homers a season with Colorado from 2004-08, hit his first in 18 games for the A's.

Oakland will turn to Dana Eveland (1-1, 5.95), who is 4-0 with a 2.55 ERA in four starts against Seattle including two victories at Safeco.

Eveland is coming off a solid performance on Sunday, when he yielded one run and four hits in five innings of a 7-1 win over Tampa Bay. He tinkered with his mechanics to speed up his tempo after failing to get out of the fourth inning in each of his previous two starts.

"It's something I've done in the past and I know I'm at my best when I do it," Eveland said.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 1, 2009

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