Chris Flexen’s return to MLB after spending 2020 playing in South Korea’s KBO has been highly successful thus far, but his matchup with the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday might be what winds up leading to regression from a strong start for the Seattle Mariners.
Flexen went 3-11 with an 8.07 ERA in three seasons with the New York Mets from 2017-19. He already has five wins (5-2) this season, but is generating only 5.7 strikeouts per nine innings while allowing 11 hits per nine innings. He is backed up by a bullpen that has a 5.24 ERA the past 30 days, which ranks 27th in MLB.
Oakland starter Sean Manaea has given up two runs or fewer in seven of his past 10 starts with the team going 8-2, and has yielded 1.8 walks and 0.8 home runs per nine innings in this stretch.
The Athletics have done their best hitting on the road this season with 4.5 runs per game scored opposed to 3.9 runs per game at home. They also have pitched better on the road (3.57 ERA vs. 4.29 at home).
With the Mariners scoring the second-fewest runs per game at home among AL teams and the Athletics entering Tuesday 14-8 away and 17-17 at home, Oakland should continue its dominance on the road and in Manaea’s starts.
The play: Athletics, -135.