Seattle enjoyed a walk-off 3-2 win on Tuesday
The Rays had their season-high seven-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday and will look to remain atop the American League Wild Card standings on Wednesday in the series finale against the Mariners.
Seattle enjoyed a walk-off 3-2 win on Tuesday and is 1-1 at the front end of a nine-game homestand. The Mariners have won eight of their last nine games at Safeco Field and have a good chance of improving on that mark with ace Felix Hernandez scheduled to start on Wednesday.
Hernandez (10-5) is coming off a rough outing, allowing five runs in seven innings against the Angels.
"He had a really good breaking ball and a good fastball, but the changeup wasn't quite what it normally is," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
Still, Hernandez is one of the best starters in the AL. Over his last 10 starts, the right-hander is 6-0 with a 1.73 ERA. He leads the Majors with nine starts allowing one run or less in eight or more innings. One of those starts came against the Rays on April 30 at Tropicana Field.
The Rays (63-53) are 7-1 since third baseman Evan Longoria returned from the disabled list on Aug. 7.
Jeremy Hellickson is scheduled to make his 22nd start for Tampa Bay this year. He is 7-7 with a 3.52 ERA but is 3-1 in his last four outings. Part of the right-hander's recent success has been a decrease in walks.
"I had a stretch there where I had zero to one walk for about four starts," Hellickson said. "I only had two the last game, but they were both leading off the inning. So try and stay away from that and get ahead of guys."
Hellickson said he looks forward to going up against Hernandez for the second time this season, though he understands there's very little margin for error.
"You know from the start if you give up a run, that might be the ballgame," Hellickson said. "You just have to go out there and make your pitches. The main thing for me is to worry about their lineup and not him."
While Hernandez allowed one run over eight innings when he faced off against Hellickson back in April, the Tampa Bay starter countered with seven innings of one-run ball as the Rays won, 3-2.
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