The Oakland A's, on pace for the worst record in modern major league history, will take any positive signs they can get.
That is why JP Sears' superb career history against the Mariners might give the A's some hope that they can salvage the finale of a three-game series at Seattle on Thursday.The Mariners routed the A's 6-1 on Wednesday, handing Oakland its seventh consecutive loss and 15th defeat in the past 17 games. The A's have a .196 winning percentage that would result in a 32-130 mark over a 162-game season.
The fewest wins by a team in modern history (since 1900) was 36, a total posted twice by the Philadelphia A's, in 1916 and 1919.
Sears (0-3, 4.99 ERA) will look to end Oakland's skid when he makes his 10th start of the season. In his career against the Mariners, he owns a 2-0 record with a 0.41 ERA in four games, including three starts.
The left-hander turned in his best outing of the season on May 3 against Seattle in Oakland, when he fired six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out seven.
In his latest outing, May limited the host Houston Astros to two runs in six innings during a no-decision on Saturday.
Sears could be backed up in the bullpen by right-hander Trevor May, who returned to action on Tuesday after missing more than a month while dealing with anxiety issues. May threw a scoreless inning against the Mariners on Tuesday, though he hit Ty France and Eugenio Suarez with pitches.
A's manager Mark Kotsay said of May getting back to the majors, "I know for him it's been a battle. To see him on the mound, what he's been through over the last month, the challenges he's faced on the mental side of the game -- for him being able to go through that inning, not necessarily the way he wanted it to, but he got through it. That's a good sign."
France and Suarez were both struck by 95 mph fastballs, in the left hand and back, respectively. France sat out the Wednesday game while Suarez returned to go 0-for-3 with a walk.
Both France and Mariners manager Scott Servais used the term "lucky" when discussing the first baseman's injury.
"When you get hit like that, the first thing you think is, 'Oh my god, my hand is broke or something is broken,'" Servais said. "I think the adrenaline kind of subsides a little bit, you calm down and you realize, 'I'm gonna be OK.' ... It very easily could have broken something."
The player filling in for France on Wednesday, Sam Haggerty, contributed a two-run double that opened the scoring.
The Mariners will hand the ball to Logan Gilbert (2-2, 3.81) on Thursday. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 3.53 ERA in eight career starts against the A's. He got a no-decision against Sears on May 3 after giving up two runs on three hits and two walks with six strikeouts in six innings.
Gilbert won his latest start, when he tossed six innings of two-run ball and fanned nine in a 7-3 victory at Atlanta on Saturday.
--Field Level Media