ORIOLES (21-54) AT MARINERS (33-46)
10:10 p.m. ET; ROOTNW, MASN2, MLB.TV
Mike Leake hasn’t just been pitching well. He’s also been enhancing his trade value.
With the Seattle Mariners already having dealt away veterans Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion in the past few weeks, Leake’s name has also come up in trade talks.
The right-hander (6-6, 4.14 ERA) will get another chance to show his wares when he takes on the visiting Baltimore Orioles on Friday night. The Orioles have suffered nine consecutive defeats and have the worst record (21-54) in the majors.
Leake has posted four consecutive quality starts, with three wins and a no-decision in that span. In his last outing, a 6-3 victory Sunday at Oakland, Leake allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits in seven innings and matched his season-high with seven strikeouts.
“Mike has really been on point the last four times out,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It’s been really fun to watch him pitch … he just keeps doing what Mike Leake does: grinding and keeping us in the ballgame.”
The Mariners beat Baltimore 5-2 Thursday in the series opener, as Wade LeBlanc pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings and Domingo Santana and Omar Narvaez hit home runs.
It was Seattle’s second win in a row, the first time the Mariners have put together a winning streak since beating Oakland on May 13-14.
“We’ve moved on from a few veteran players,” Servais said. “The team is starting to realize that this is our team going forward. … It’s nice to see this team come together. As things settle down with our roster, hopefully we play a little better together.”
Leake, who is 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA in three career starts against the Orioles, said he knows he could be one of the next Mariners veterans on the move. But he tries to ignore those rumors.
“That’s the fortunate part of having years in the game, you get the ability to learn how to do that,” Leake told The Seattle Times after his last start. “I’ve been traded. I’ve been signed as a free agent. I’ve been through it.”
The Orioles were scheduled to start left-hander John Means (6-4, 2.67 ERA) on Friday, but instead placed the rookie on the 10-day injured list with a minor left shoulder strain.
“It’s nothing serious. It’s something we just don’t want lingering,” Means told MLB.com. “It’s strictly muscle … it’s one of those things that gets tight and is uncomfortable and doesn’t feel good to throw, but once it loosens up, it’s fine.”
That puts the Orioles in a bit of a bind, as they optioned their No. 4 starter David Hess to the minors and designated No. 5 starter Dan Straily for assignment earlier this week. That means Baltimore will be forced to go with a bullpen day Friday, with left-hander Sean Gilmartin the leading candidate to start, according to MLB.com.
Gilmartin, 29, has yet to pitch in the majors this year. He went 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 12 relief appearances last season for the Orioles.
Strailly was 2-4 with a 9.82 ERA and allowed an MLB-worst 22 home runs.
“He just never got off to a good start here,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “He never got going. We hope he goes down to Triple-A and finds it.”
The Orioles played the series opener without their leading hitter, Trey Mancini, because he suffered a left elbow contusion after being hit by a pitch Wednesday in Oakland.
Mancini told MLB.com he hopes to resume baseball activities Friday, although he’s still considered day-to-day.
–Field Level Media