The Seattle Mariners are suddenly rolling — and now they get their ace back.
Left-hander Marco Gonzales, who has been sidelined since April 27 with a left forearm strain, is scheduled to start Tuesday night when the Mariners play host to the Oakland Athletics.
The Mariners have won five gamesin a row and seven of their past eight, including a 6-5 victory against Oakland in 10 innings on Monday afternoon.
The A’s have lost three in a row.
Because of injuries to their six-man rotation — left-handers James Paxton and Nick Margevicius and right-hander Ljay Newsome are out for the rest of the season — the Mariners have been forced to go with a bullpen day once a week.
Their last one was Wednesday in Oakland, a 6-3 loss.
“I’m hopeful that this is our last bullpen day,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said after that game, “and that Marco could slide in there the next time this spot comes around.”
Gonzales said watching relievers try to patch their way through nine innings was difficult on him.
“I feel like I kind of (hung) the bullpen out to dry a little bit with the bullpen day that we’re going forward with,” Gonzales told reporters last week. “Sitting and watching is frustrating.”
Gonzales (1-3, 5.40 ERA) got off to a rocky start this season but was starting to turn it around before he went on the injured list.
He allowed one run on two hits in seven innings against the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers on April 20, then gave up two runs on five hits in six innings against the Houston Astros in his next start.
“I’ve been through my fair share of injuries before, and the way to get through it is to take it day by day, and not let the frustration overcome you at all, and try to channel it into the exercises and workouts,” said Gonzales, who is 5-3 with a 3.92 ERA in 11 career appearances against the A’s, including 10 starts.
Oakland is scheduled to counter with right-hander Chris Bassitt (5-2, 3.21 ERA), who is coming off the best start of his career, a complete game shutout with nine strikeouts against the Los Angeles Angels. Bassitt is 1-4 with a 3.56 ERA in 10 games against Seattle, with eight starts.
Bassitt has been relying more on his slider recently, with opponents hitting .067 in 30 at-bats against the pitch.
“Not only is it a different pitch, it’s from a different arm angle, and he throws two pitches from that arm angle,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He tends to drop down a little bit more on it, but he also throws some fastballs down there, so not only is it a different look, it’s two different pitches from that look.”
Despite scoring five runs Monday, the A’s were homerless for the fifth consecutive game. They’re 5-13 in games without a homer and 3-16 when outhomered.
They were also 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position on Monday.
“Good teams have to find a way to do both,” first baseman Matt Olson said. “We were able to put up some runs today without hitting homers. But sometimes you get rolling when one person (homers).”
–Field Level Media