It’s probably too little too late, but the Mariners snapped their five-game losing streak this afternoon with a 7-5 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre in Toronto.
Starting in place of the struggling Chris Young, Tom Wilhelmsen put the Mariners in an early 2-0 hole, but they jumped in front in the fourth inning with an RBI single from Kyle Seager and a three-run homer from Logan Morrison. The rally snapped an 18-inning scoreless streak for Seattle. The Blue Jays tied things up in the fifth, but the Mariners moved ahead for good in the sixth with solo homers from Morrison and Mike Zunino. Seager then added some insurance with an RBI single in the seventh. Fernando Rodney gave up a solo homer to Kevin Pillar in the ninth, but managed to hang on for his 47th save of the season.
This win means that neither the Athletics nor the Royals can clinch a Wild Card spot even if they win their respective games tonight. The Mariners are 2 1/2 games back of both teams at the moment and need a miracle to avoid elimination.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.