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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, April 11th (All times Eastern)

Oakland Athletics (6-3) at Seattle Mariners (5-3), 10:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Oakland - Tommy Milone (0-0, 0.00) Seattle - Felix Hernandez (2-0, 1.88)

(SportsNetwork.com) - Felix Hernandez tries to win his third game in as many starts on Friday when the Seattle Mariners open a three-game series versus the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field.

Hernandez was terrific against the A's on Saturday, holding them to just a run and six hits in 8 1/3 innings to improve to 2-0, while lowering his ERA to 1.88. In two starts this season, Hernandez has thrown 14 1/3 innings while yielding just three earned runs, striking out 19 and walking two.

"I'm going to attack the hitters the same way I did last time," Hernandez said. "If I have to make an adjustment, I'm going to make an adjustment."

Hernandez has dominated Oakland over the course of his career, posting a 16-7 mark to go along with a 2.59 ERA in 30 starts.

King Felix will be trying to help Seattle get back on track after splitting a two-game series with Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Since winning their first three games the Mariners have gone 3-3, including dropping two of three to Oakland last weekend.

Oakland followed that series win up by sweeping the Minnesota Twins, culminating with a 6-1 win on Thursday. Josh Donaldson homered and drove in three runs in that one, while Sam Fuld added a two-run home run and Yoenis Cespedes had two hits for the A's, who has won four straight.

Starting pitcher Dan Straily (1-1) tossed seven strong innings, allowing one run on three hits to help the A's win their ninth straight against the Twins.

"It was kind of a weird outing," Straily said. "I definitely didn't have my best stuff, but was able to mix speeds, mix locations and just keep them off- balance and from making good contact."

A's starters have pitched to a 1.93 ERA this season, while allowing three runs or fewer in all nine games. The same cannot be said for the bullpen, though, as manager Bob Melvin announced on Thursday that closer Jim Johnson would be "taking a break" from ninth inning duties.

Johnson is 0-2 with an 18.90 ERA in five games this season. He has just one save, blown a save and has walked six and yielded nine hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Melvin said he would go with closer-by-committee until Johnson worked himself out or one of the candidates stepped up.

Getting the call for the A's on Friday will be lefty Tommy Milone, who will be making his season debut. Milone had been penciled in to start last Friday versus the Mariners, but had his start skipped over when playing conditions at O.co Stadium were deemed unplayable and the game was postponed.

Milone went 12-9 with a 4.14 ERA last year.

Seattle was 11-8 versus the A's last season.

04/11 10:24:57 ET

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    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

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    Tomorrow at 7:30 pm on WRAL-2

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    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

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