A lot has happened since the Seattle Mariners were last at home.
They went 3-7 on a trip to New York, Cincinnati and Tampa Bay. In that stretch, they went from a tie atop the American League West to 2 1/2 games behind division-leading Houston and also dropped into the AL’s third and final wild-card spot, surpassed by the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Mariners (79-64) will attempt to regain their mojo when they open a three-game series with the visiting Los Angeles Angels (67-77) on Monday night.
The Mariners have lost three in a row, including a 6-3 decision Sunday at Tampa Bay.
“Tough road trip,” Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford said. “Forget about it. Gotta look at the bigger picture here and focus on the prize.”
Seattle’s pitching staff faltered on the road, as it posted a 5.38 ERA on the trip with just two quality starts.
“We had a couple of short starts, which then eat into your bullpen a little bit,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We had some leads later in games and weren’t able to lock down. I talk all the time about how you’ve got to hit on the road. You also need guys to step up and get the big outs. We weren’t able to do that on this trip.”
The Mariners could get a boost from the return of outfielder Jarred Kelenic, who has been out since July 19 with a fractured foot after kicking a water cooler in frustration after striking out in the ninth inning of a loss to the Minnesota Twins that dropped the Mariners below .500.
The Mariners won 29 of their next 38 games to make up a double-digit deficit in the division.
The fiery Kelenic figures to up the intensity of the playoff race.
“Oh, we’ll be energized (Monday) — us and about 40,000 of our dearest friends will be at the ballpark to get behind us,” Servais said. “We need it. We’re dragging a little bit. But it happens this time of year, at the end of a long, rough road trip. But we’ll be ready to go (against the Angels).”
The Angels have a two-game winning streak after defeating visiting Cleveland on Sunday.
“We are where we are, we’re trying to win ballgames and these guys are out there grinding,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said.
Los Angeles could also get some reinforcements for its injury-riddled lineup.
Designated hitter Shohei Ohtani missed the entire seven-game homestand with right oblique tightness but might play Monday, Nevin said.
Rookie first baseman Nolan Schanuel (shoulder) is expected to return after leaving Friday’s game. Schanuel has reached base in his first 17 games in the majors, setting a franchise record.
On Sunday, the Angels got back rookie shortstop Zach Neto (lower back inflammation) and reliever Ben Joyce (numbness in right hand).
Monday’s pitching matchup is set to feature Angels left-hander Reid Detmers (3-10, 4.82 ERA) against Mariners right-hander Logan Gilbert (13-5, 3.61).
Detmers didn’t get a decision in a 5-4 loss to visiting Baltimore last Tuesday. He allowed just one earned run in 6 2/3 innings. Detmers is 2-0 with a 5.01 ERA in five career starts against Seattle. He has failed to go five innings in his two starts against the Mariners this season, a pair of no-decisions.
Gilbert has won his past eight decisions, including an 8-4 victory last Wednesday at Cincinnati in which he gave up three runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, with nine strikeouts. He’s 4-2 with a 4.71 ERA in seven career starts against the Angels. He lost 9-4 on June 11 in Anaheim, Calif., as he surrendered seven runs (six earned) on eight hits over three innings.
–Field Level Media