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Oakland A's at Seattle Mariners series preview: Do or die time for Oakland

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The Oakland Athletics (19-26) visit the Seattle Mariners (26-17) for three games at Safeco Field, where the faint embers of Oakland's AL West chances can either be breathed to life or snuffed out.

Tampa Bay Rays v Seattle Mariners
Taijuan Walker pitches for the Mariners Monday night.
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Trailing the Mariners by eight games in the AL West, the A's in their weakened state must do all they can to win at least one game out of the three in Seattle and avoid falling behind double digit games in the division. They'll have this year's top starter, Rich Hill, in Game 1, Kendall Graveman for Game 2, and most likely Zach Neal in the finale.

In the 16 games since the Mariners swept the A's at the Coliseum, Seattle has gone 10-6 and hit .255/.330/.429 with 21 home runs in 621 plate appearances, scoring 79 runs and allowing 60.

Probable pitching matchups and broadcast schedule

The A's avoid Felix Hernandez somehow, and the A's are 2-2 in the games pitched by the trio Seattle will send out for this series:

Monday: Rich Hill vs. Taijuan Walker

Taijuan Walker faced the A's on April 8 and took no decision in Oakland's 3-2 win over the Mariners. Walker did throw a quality start, allowing two runs over six innings. He allowed a solo home run to Josh Reddick, but struck out four and walked none.

Walker is 0-3 in his last four starts, and has not finished the sixth inning of any of them. On May 6, Walker exited a contest against the Astros after 35 pitches due to neck spasms, but he did not miss any time.

Tuesday: Kendall Graveman vs. Nate Karns

Nate Karns is 1-1 against the A's. Last time against the A's, Karns barely threw a quality start, allowing three runs in six innings on two home runs. In his opening week start against Oakland, Karns allowed four runs in five innings.

Karns comes into the contest with a 2.55 ERA in his last three starts without allowing a home run.

Wednesday: Zach Neal vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

Iwakuma faced the A's at the Coliseum on May 3, throwing seven innings of one-run ball. The A's managed just three line drives in those seven innings even though Iwakuma only struck out three.

Iwakuma has struggled since then, however. He's allowed 10 runs over his last three starts for a 5.19 ERA, striking out 16, walking six, and allowing two home runs.

Bullpens

Seattle's bullpen, while it does not feature an impervious trio like the Yankees had over the weekend, does run pretty deep. The A's might try to avoid Sean Doolittle and John Axford in Game 1, having used them in each of the last two games.

Recent usage statistics from Roster Resource (A's & Mariners).