Game Preview: A's vs. Mariners - July 21, 2004

After splitting two games with Toronto, the A's head to Seattle to face their old foes, the Mariners. Although the Mariners have had a disappointing season, they are coming off of two strong games against Boston. The A's look to shake their road woes in this short, two game set.

Oakland Athletics (51-41), W-1 v. Seattle Mariners (35-57), L-1

Date: Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Time: 7:05 P.S.T.
Place: Safeco Field – Seattle, WA

Preview:After an exhausting fourteen inning marathon, the A's travel up to Seattle for a quick two game series before coming back home to host Texas this weekend. The Mariners have been one of the surprise stories of the season as they have been out of contention since April. Seattle built the core of their team around consistent veteran ballplayers but instead have seen their team slowly get dismantled. With the effort to bring in younger players, the Mariners traded Freddy Garcia for Miguel Olivo and prospects while also dumping John Olerud and Rich Aurillia. There are rumors that Bret Boone will be departing soon and this is probably the last season for Edgar Martinez. Seattle is still a dangerous team that has good young pitching and the best leadoff hitter in the game, Ichiro Suzuki.

The A's are 4-2 since the All-Star break and remain 2.5 games behind the red-hot Texas Rangers. Oakland is 20-27 on the road this year and have lost 18 of their last 25 road games. Seattle is 22-25 at home and are 6-7 in their last 13 home games. The A's lead the season series 4-3 and split a four game series in Seattle earlier this year.

Pitching Match-up:

Oakland – Barry Zito, LHP (5-7, 4.42 ERA)
Seattle – Travis Blackley, LHP (1-2, 11.37 ERA)


Travis Blackley: The 21 year-old has had a rough welcome to the major leagues so far in his first three starts. His first start came against the Texas Rangers and went well as he picked up the win in an 8-4 victory. In that game he allowed 4 runs in 5.2 innings and gave up 6 hits. Against Toronto in his next start he gave up 6 runs (5 earned) in 5 innings and 7 hits in a 12-4 loss. His last start was his worst, as he lasted only two innings after allowing 7 runs on 7 hits while giving up 3 homeruns and walking 3 against Cleveland. Blackley is six foot three inches tall and hails from Melbourne, Australia.

Barry Zito: Zito has pitched very well in his last two starts with his last start against the White Sox being one of his most dominant. He allowed just one run in 7 innings on 4 hits and walked only one batter. He won for the first time since June 8th against Cincinnati and finished with only 99 pitches thrown. The A's are 4-6 in the last ten games Zito has started and are 0-5 in the last five road games he has started. Left-handers are still hitting Zito hard with a .320 batting average and opponents are hitting .294 on the road against him as opposed to .258 at home. Zito is 6-2 lifetime against Seattle with a 3.82 ERA in 11 starts.

Batter v. Pitcher Matchups:

Zito v.:
Bloomquist, W – 4 for 12 (.333) – 1 2B
Bocachica, H – 1 for 7 (.143) – 1 K
Boone, B – 8 for 30 (.267) – 4 RBI, 5 K
Cabrera, J – 1 for 5 (.200) – 2 K
Ibanez, R – 2 for 12 (.167) – 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 4 K
Martinez, E – 4 for 22 (.182) – 2 HR, 2 RBI, 4 BB, 2 K
Spiezio, S – 2 for 23 (.087) – 1 RBI, 6 BB, 6 K
Suzuki, I – 11 for 35 (.314) – 2 HR, 3 RBI, 5 K, 0 SB
Wilson, D – 1 for 16 (.063) – 1 BB, 2 K
Winn, R – 4 for 19 (.211) – 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K

Blackley v.:
Has not faced any Athletics

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