Thu, 29 Oct 2020

Playoff-bound A's look to get offense going against Mariners

Field Level Media
27 Sep 2020, 17:55 GMT+10

The American League West champion Oakland Athletics won't find out their playoff opponent until after Sunday afternoon's regular-season finale against the visiting Seattle Mariners.

But if the A's don't get their offense on track, it might not matter.

The Mariners swept a doubleheader Saturdayat the Coliseum by scores of 5-1 in eight innings and 12-3.

The A's went a combined 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position in the twin bill and left 12 runners on base.

Oakland has scored three runs or fewer in six of its past seven games.

Without Robbie Grossman's two solo home runs in Game 2 Saturday, the A's wouldn't have managed three runs.

"I just think it's baseball," Grossman said. "We've played I don't know how many games in the last month. We're at the last game (Sunday) and everyone's just looking forward to getting that second wind."

The A's (35-24) are guaranteed a top-three seed in the playoffs. They trail Minnesota by a game for the second seed. The third seed likely means a matchup with the AL West-rival Houston Astros in the best-of-3 wild-card series, while finishing second would likely mean facing the Cleveland Indians, whom Oakland hasn't seen in this pandemic-shortened season.

"You try and look and guess and map out the scenarios in the coaching room, and you really can't," A's quality control coach Mark Kotsay said. "So, when we find out our opponent, we'll get to work and definitely vet and do our best as a staff to prepare and get ready for our opponent, who that may be in this three-game series we're about to get into."

Oakland's offense might have a hard time getting untracked Sunday against Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales (7-2, 3.06 ERA), who is coming off eight scoreless innings against Houston on Monday. Gonzales has won his past five starts, including a 6-5 victory against the A's on Sept. 14. He's 5-3 with a 3.94 ERA in 10 career appearances against Oakland, including nine starts.

Mariners manager Scott Servais made a pitch that Gonzales should be in the conversation for the AL's Cy Young Award.

"I absolutely think he gets overlooked," Servais said. "If you look at the body of work, not just this year, but what he's been able to do the last couple years. He makes his starts, he logs innings, they're very productive innings. This year, he's just elevated his game, so the walks are down and the strikeouts are actually ticking up.

"He's doing everything you could ask for from a front-line starter, other than the fact it's not (the New York Yankees') Gerrit Cole throwing 98 mph. At the end of the day, it's a do-good league. You do good, you should keep playing and you should get noticed. And there's not many in the (AL) that have done it better than him this year."

The A's are scheduled to send right-hander Frankie Montas (3-5, 6.32 ERA) to the mound in the regular-season finale. Montas, who has posted a 10.88 ERA over his past six starts, is 2-1 with a 3.47 ERA in six career games against Seattle, with three starts.

--Field Level Media

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