Young right-hander Jarrod Parker takes the mound for the A's, and he comes into his start against the Mariners on quite a roll. Parker is 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA in his past six starts, and he would've won his last time out against the Giants had Oakland's bullpen not blown the lead.
The 24-year-old has allowed one run or less in five of those six outings, and has done the same in eight of his first 12 career outings. Parker joins Dwight Gooden, Dontrelle Willis, and Zach Duke as the only pitchers to do so in Major League history.
"When he's throwing the ball over the plate, he's had a lot of success," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "When he gets out of whack a little bit is when his mechanics are off and he's not throwing the ball over the plate consistently."
But Parker hasn't been alone -- the A's staff as a whole has been pitching well lately, despite trips to the disabled list for Brandon McCarthy and Bartolo Colon. In the team's past 12 games, Oakland's starters have compiled a 1.77 ERA.
On the other hand, Mariners starter Kevin Millwood will be looking to rebound from a poor start his last time out. The right-hander allowed eight runs, five of them earned, in five innings against the Padres on June 22.
"The ball was up. The breaking balls weren't good," Millwood said after the outing. "I just didn't pitch good, bottom line."
Millwood will have a tough task trying to rebound at home. Despite Safeco Field's reputation as a pitcher's park, Millwood has a 5.46 ERA at home, compared to 3.10 on the road.
A's: Suzuki to catch on Wednesday
After rookie Derek Norris caught Tuesday night's game, catcher Kurt Suzuki will return to the lineup on Wednesday to catch Parker. Melvin said that he liked the impact that the veteran Suzuki has on young starters Parker and Tommy Milone.
Ever since Norris was called up last Thursday, the division of playing time between the two has been a focus for Melvin. Norris has started four of the games since, while Suzuki has caught two.
Recent callup Brandon Hicks started Tuesday's game at first base and went 1-for-4, giving regular first baseman Brandon Moss a day off. Neither Hicks nor Moss is a natural first baseman, with the former primarily playing shortstop and the latter coming up as an outfielder.
Mariners: Wedge juggling outfield spots
Seattle manager Eric Wedge started Ichiro Suzuki at designated hitter for the first time this season on Tuesday. Casper Wells started in right field.
With Wells and Michael Saunders playing well, Franklin Gutierrez returning from the disabled list and Mike Carp eventually returning from the DL, Wedge has plenty of outfielders to play. He could DH Ichiro more in the future, in order to spread out playing time and ease the load on the veteran.
Carp, who has been on the 15-day DL for two weeks and has been bothered by right shoulder problems since injuring himself on Opening Night, hit in the batting cage on Tuesday for the first time since landing on the DL.
Seattle's pitchers have struck out the A's 25 times over the first two games of the series.
The Mariners snapped their 25-inning scoreless streak in the third inning of Tuesday's win.