(Sports Network) - The Seattle Mariners put the finishing touches on one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history this afternoon when they wrap up their season with the finale of a four-game set against theOakland Athletics at Safeco Field.
Following an 85-win campaign in 2009 and the offseason acquisition of former American League Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee, the Mariners were picked by many to at the very least compete for an American League West title this season.
Things, though, did not go as planned. The Mariners never recovered following an awful start and dealt Lee shortly before the All-Star break. The team then fired manager Don Wakamatsu in early August.
The Mariners lost for the 100th time this season on Saturday, as Jack Cust, Mark Ellis and Chris Carter all hit home runs to support seven strong innings from Brett Anderson in Oakland's 5-3 win.
Ellis walked, drove in two runs and extended his hitting streak to 12 games, while Cust went 2-for-4 for the Athletics, who have taken the first three games of the set after a six-game slide and could end the season at .500 with a win this afternoon.
Anderson (7-6) yielded two runs -- one earned -- on eight hits while walking one and striking out six to end the season with his 18th career victory, the 3rd most wins by a pitcher before the age of 23 in Oakland franchise history.
"My stuff was better today than the last two times I pitched," Anderson said. "I was able to battle, and was able to minimize the damage when I got into some jams. I kept us in the game and went as deep as possible and battled through to get the win."
David Pauley (4-9) allowed four runs on four hits and a pair of walks with two strikeouts over seven frames to absorb the loss for the Mariners, who have dropped four in a row and reached the 100-loss plateau for the fifth time in franchise history.
"I know that 100 losses is nothing that anybody wants but I think it's not easy, but anything that's that tough mentally will make you stronger in the future," said Seattle manager Daren Brown. "I know I haven't been here all year, but I feel for the guys that have been. It's tough but I also think it is a learning experience."
Hoping to add to the Mariners' misery today will be lefty Dallas Braden, whose season, of course, was highlighted by a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays back on May 9.
Braden, though, has lost five of his last six starts and is 10-14 with a 3.50 ERA.
Seattle will hand the ball to Ryan Rowland-Smith, who gets the call today in place of AL Cy Young Award front-runner Felix Hernandez. With nothing to play for Seattle did not want to increase the 24-year-old's workload following a terrific season that saw him go 13-12, despite and AL-best 2.27 ERA in a league-high 249 2/3 innings.
Rowland-Smith is 1-10 with a 6.90 ERA this season
Should Mariners outfielder Franklin Gutierrez make it through this afternoon's finale without an error, he will set a new MLB record. Gutierrez has played 146 games in the field without making an error this season, a span of 415 chances. The current mark for an errorless season was set in 1966, when Curt Flood converted 396 chances without a blemish.
The A's have won 12 of 18 bouts with Seattle this season.