Three weeks ago, the Boston Red Sox swept a four-game series against the visiting Seattle Mariners.
The teams will meet again Friday night in Seattle.
Remarkably, that series wasn’t rock bottom for the Mariners.
They came home and lost two of three games to Oakland, dropping behind the rebuilding Athletics and into the American League West cellar.
A day off let the hurt linger a bit.
Since then, Seattle has gone 8-4. In the past four series, the Mariners won two of three against the division-leading Houston Astros (twice), the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers.
Seattle went 6-3 on its just-completed trip, capped by a 6-3 victory against the Astros on Wednesday in which Cal Raleigh and Ty France homered and Logan Gilbert pitched six quality innings.
“We played well defensively, we got big hits and a heck of a road trip,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said postgame. “I am really ecstatic we’ve won four series in a row and we are moving the ball in the right direction. We’re still chipping away and we’ve still got work to do, but we did exactly what we needed to do on this trip.”
The Red Sox have remained hot since sweeping Seattle, though they had a seven-game winning streak snapped with a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif. Shohei Ohtani hit a two-run homer and pitched seven innings of one-run ball to help the Angels end their 14-game losing streak.
“Obviously, to see him hit a home run while he’s going out there for seven innings, that’s impressive,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Ohtani, “and that’s why I keep saying he’s the best athlete in the world.”
The previous Red Sox-Mariners series marked the awakening of Boston second baseman Trevor Story.
Story, who was courted by the Mariners in the offseason before signing as a free agent with Boston, entered that series batting .205 with two homers and 16 RBIs.
By the end of the weekend, his average was up to .226, and he had seven homers and 29 RBIs.
“Baseball is the most challenging sport in the world. I feel like on an everyday basis, you’re going to be challenged, especially here,” Story said after going 4-for-4 with three homers and seven RBIs in the opener against Seattle on May 19. “It’s something that I take a lot of pride in — trying to be very even-keeled about it all. I just believe that the hard work pays off eventually, but yeah, (slumps are) always very challenging.
“You just grind every day, and when you go out there and play, you just let it rip, and hopefully the stuff you’re working on clicks.”
In Friday’s opener of a three-game series, Red Sox left-hander Rich Hill (2-3, 4.40 ERA) is scheduled to match up against Mariners lefty Marco Gonzales (3-6, 3.59).
Hill is 4-0 with a 3.30 ERA in 14 career appearances against Seattle, including seven starts. He lasted just two innings against the Mariners on May 19, allowing four runs on six hits, but was bailed out by Story’s big night.
Gonzales lost each of his past two outings despite making quality starts each time. He is 1-2 with a 5.48 ERA in four career starts against Boston.
–Field Level Media