Mariners aim to solve Shohei Ohtani, Angels in finale

Field Level Media

September 26, 2021 at 12:22 pm.

If the Seattle Mariners are to snap their 20-year postseason drought, they’re going to have to go through Shohei Ohtani.

Ohtani damaged Seattle’s hopes Saturday with two run-scoring triples and a walk with the bases loaded in the Los Angeles Angels’ 14-1 victory in Anaheim, Calif.

That snapped a season-high six-game winning streak for the Mariners (85-70) and dropped them three games behind both Boston and the New York Yankees in the race for the American League’s two wild-card playoff berths.

“We’ve been playing so well but certainly (Saturday) was not our night,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “The best thing our guys can do after a game like this is take a hot shower, get a good night’s rest and go out and win the series (Sunday).”

It won’t get any easier for the Mariners, as Ohtani (9-2, 3.28 ERA) is scheduled to get the start Sunday. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two career starts against Seattle.

Ohtani won his only previous appearance this season against the Mariners on June 4 at home. The two-way sensation allowed two runs on four hits with 10 strikeouts over six innings in a 3-2 victory.

Ohtani also struck out 10 over eight innings last Sunday against Oakland, but didn’t get a decision in a 3-2 loss in extra innings.

The Mariners plan to counter with left-hander Marco Gonzales (9-5, 4.14), who has won a career-best eight consecutive decisions since the All-Star break.

Gonzales is 8-1 with a 3.62 ERA in 16 career starts against the Angels. He didn’t get a decision in his only previous appearance against them this year, allowing three runs in 5 2/3 innings of a 7-3 Seattle victory on July 9.

The Angels (74-81) announced Saturday that three-time AL MVP Mike Trout, who has been out since May 17 with a calf strain, is being shut down for the rest of the season.

“It’s been tough for me, but now looking back and learning from everything, this was the biggest injury of my career,” Trout said. “It came down to we were trying everything the last month and a half to get back out there. My calf and my body weren’t cooperating. It was frustrating. I took a week, 2 1/2 weeks off and I feel almost 100 percent.”

Trout hit .333 with eight home runs and 18 RBIs in 36 games this season.

Trout was asked about his take on the MVP race between Ohtani and Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“(Ohtani’s) the MVP, I think. Truly an amazing talent,” Trout said. “What Vladdy is doing is unbelievable as well. He’s in the race. His numbers are maybe a little bit better than Ohtani’s, but then again you look at Vladdy’s pitching. I don’t think I’ve seen Vladdy pitch all year.

“It’s a tough case to argue because Vladdy has a chance to win the Triple Crown. What Shohei is doing this year is remarkable and he’s playing everyday. It’s truly fun to watch.”