Sunday is the third game of a three-game weekend set in Oakland as a battle of AL West rivals commences. It is only early June, and the Mariners are already mailing in the season and trading off pieces. On Saturday night, they dealt Edwin Encarnacion to the Yankees for a prospect pitcher.
Meanwhile, the Athletics came into this weekend series above .500 and are hanging around the Wild Card picture for the time being. The A’s 10-game winning streak in May has really been the savior for their season thus far; otherwise, they would be well under .500.
Speaking of the Mariners selling off pieces, the next big one to go could very well be Mike Leake. Leake is making his 15th start on Sunday, currently with a 5-6 record and a 4.26 ERA. Leake started out the year hot, then had a rough stretch and has since gotten back on track. Since losing to the A’s on May 26 in Oakland, Leake has turned things around, going 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA in 23 innings. A big problem for Leake still is giving up home runs. In seven starts this year he has given up multiple homers, leading to an HR/9 of 2.03 and an absolutely awful HR/FB% of over 18.
Even worse, the road splits for Leake are just as horrendous. In 49 innings pitched away from Safeco Field, Leake has a 5.33 ERA and has given up 16 of his 20 home runs allowed this season. His last time in Oakland, the aforementioned May 26 game, wasn’t too pretty either. He went 6 2/3 innings, gave up five runs (two homers) and only struck out four while walking three. Over the last two years, Leake is 1-2 with a 4.99 ERA.
For the Athletics, Tanner Anderson will make his second career start. In his first start at Tampa Bay, Anderson went 5 2/3 innings and only gave up two runs while striking out five batters. Unfortunately for Anderson, he got no run support at all. The A’s did not score their first run until the ninth inning and ended up losing 6-2, giving Anderson the loss of record.
It’s kind of surprising that Anderson was given this starting opportunity considering his Triple-A numbers are not that great. He was 4-4 in 11 games with a 6.26 ERA. There wasn’t much evidence of having success at the MLB level either. In 2018 for the Pirates, he appeared in six games out of the bullpen. He ended up going 1-0 but once again had an ERA over 6.
Batter To Watch
Matt Chapman is a big reason the A’s are where they’re at in the standings right now, and he doesn’t get enough recognition across the league both for his defense and bat. He has 16 home runs on the year so far, and a wRC+ over 120 after being over 130 in 2018. His .310 average and 12 home runs at home will definitely be a key to victory for the A’s.
It’s almost impossible to take the Mariners at this rate with the way they’re playing. Leake is good, but not on the road. The A’s have the ninth-most home runs in the league against a pitcher prone to giving them up. Take the A’s.