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7:10 PM PT8:10 PM MT9:10 PM CT10:10 PM ET22:10 ET2:10 GMT10:10 7:10 PM MST9:10 PM EST9:40 PM VEN6:10 UAE (+1)9:10 PM CT, August 23, 2019
T-Mobile Park, Seattle, Washington  Attendance: 34,706

Sheffield set for first major-league start as Mariners host Blue Jays

According to STATS
According to STATS

Toronto Blue Jays at Seattle Mariners

  1. The Blue Jays have lost five games in a row, one game off their season-long losing streak of six set in late May/early June. Over this streak, Toronto is averaging 1.8 runs per game and batting .182 as a team.
  2. The Mariners return home after going 6-3 on a nine-game road trip that including winning two of three games against the Blue Jays in Toronto. Seattle has won three consecutive series overall, the longest-active series win streak by any AL team.
  3. The Blue Jays have hit 57 home runs since July 27, second most in the majors over that time behind the Yankees (58). Toronto has had an MLB-high 14 different players hit a home run since July 27.
  4. Kyle Seager has hit at least 15 home runs in eight consecutive seasons with the Mariners, tied with Jay Buhner for the third-longest such streak in franchise history. The only Mariners with more consecutive 15-home run seasons are Ken Griffey Jr. (12) and Edgar Martinez (9).
  5. The Mariners have used 63 different players this season, one off the major league record of 64 set by the 2014 Texas Rangers. Seattle has used 40 pitchers this season, tied with 2017 Mariners and the 2014 Rangers for most pitchers used in a single season all-time.
  6. Since the All-Star break, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is slashing .341/.406/.589 with seven home runs and 30 RBI in 35 games. Guerrero Jr. and Rowdy Tellez each have hit 15 home runs this season, making the Blue Jays the only team in the majors this season with two rookies with 15+ home runs apiece.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 8/23/2019 thru 8/25/2019

Justus Sheffield needed to take a step back to take a step forward.

And that last step comes Friday night, when the left-hander is scheduled to take the mound for the Seattle Mariners when they play host to the Toronto Blue Jays in the opener of a three-game series.

Sheffield (0-0, 6.00 ERA), the centerpiece to the offseason trade in which the Mariners sent James Paxton to the New York Yankees, will be making his first major league start. He made one relief appearance April 26 for Seattle, allowing two runs on two hits and four walks over three innings. He was optioned back to Triple-A Tacoma the next day.

Mariners manager Scott Servais said at the time he'd prefer Sheffield continue to "work on things" rather than move him back and forth between Triple-A and the majors.

"We'd like to call him up and leave him here and let him go," Servais said.

But that's not what happened. Sheffield struggled so mightily at Tacoma, going 2-6 with a 6.87 ERA in 13 appearances with 41 walks in 55 innings, that he was demoted June 14 to Double-A Arkansas to regain his command and confidence.

He regained both, going 5-3 with a 2.19 ERA in 12 starts. In 78 innings, he struck out 85 and walked just 18.

"I feel like I am in a pretty good spot," Sheffield told 710 ESPN in Seattle recently. "When I am on the mound, I just feel good. I had to take a step back but sometimes in life you have got to do that, but I feel like it actually has been a positive step forward for me and I just have to continue to build off where I am right now."

The Mariners had Thursday off after completing a nine-game trip to Detroit, Toronto and Tampa Bay, during which they took two of three games at each stop.

They rallied for three runs in the ninth inning Wednesday in Tampa Bay to take a one-run lead, only to have the Rays score twice in the bottom of the inning for a 7-6 victory. That snapped Seattle's four-game winning streak.

"We played well, and they had to come back and win," Mariners outfielder Mallex Smith told the Seattle Times. "We didn't lose. They beat us."

The Blue Jays have dropped five consecutive games, including back-to-back walk-off losses to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team with the best record in the majors.

The Dodgers scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth Thursday to win 3-2 after Toronto right-hander Jacob Waguespack allowed just one hit in seven scoreless innings.

The Blue Jays are scheduled to start right-hander Trent Thornton (4-8, 5.30 ERA) in the series opener. Last Saturday, he pitched six innings of three-run ball against the Mariners in his first time facing Seattle (0-0, 4.50 ERA), allowing five hits and four walks while striking out three. He didn't get a decision in a game the Blue Jays lost 4-3.

"He made a big adjustment. He was all over the place, honestly," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said after that game. "Four walks. He couldn't command any of his pitches. He did find a way to keep us in the game, but then the last two innings, seven outs or eight outs, he made an adjustment."

--Field Level Media

Updated August 23, 2019

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