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Young Athletics open final home series vs. Mariners

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The rebuilding Oakland Athletics are still stuck in the American League West cellar, but they will take some momentum into their final home series of the season against the Seattle Mariners.

The three-game set begins Monday night at the Oakland Coliseum.

The A's (72-83), featuring a roster packed with promising rookies, are 14-3 over their past 17 games. The completed a three-game series sweep of the Texas Rangers with an 8-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at the Coliseum.

"It's been exciting," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said before the game. "This is probably the best feeling we've had as a team all year, here recently. It's the Matt Chapmans and the Matt Olsons and the Chad Pinders, all these guys that have come up and really given us hope and an expectation and confidence going into next season.

"I've talked to these guys as a group leading up to where we are right now about this is what we want to create for next year, is to create a good feeling, finish up strong, go into the offseason with a positive outlook and certainly let the teams know in our division, too, that we're on our way back, that this three-year period that we've gone through is hopefully over and next year is the sign of good things for us, and I think the way we're playing here at the end would suggest that is the case."

The A's have missed the playoffs for three consecutive seasons after making the postseason three straight years.

The Mariners (75-81) were eliminated from wild-card playoff contention on Sunday with a 4-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians at Safeco Field, combined with the Minnesota Twins' 10-4 win against the Detroit Tigers.

Seattle has lost eight of its past nine games after winning five of six. The Mariners were swept in three games by the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park and three games by Texas at Safeco Field before losing two of three to Cleveland.

"The finality of it all hurts," Mariners manager Scott Servais said after the Sunday loss. "There's no question about that. I thought we did an unbelievable job this year to hang in there. As the water was coming into the boat, we kept throwing it out to try and keep afloat. We just kept battling and fighting.

"It says a lot about our guys to keep it up as long as we did. We struggled through some injuries and pitching injuries. I think you battle so long like that, you get to a point where you just run out of gas and can only go so far. That's what it felt like."

Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez, who has been plagued by right shoulder bursitis throughout much of the season, is scheduled to make just his 16th start Monday. He is 5-5 with a 4.57 ERA.

Hernandez is 24-9 with a 2.62 ERA in 45 career games against Oakland. He is 12-3 with a 2.73 ERA in 24 starts at the Coliseum.

A's rookie right-hander Daniel Gossett (4-9, 5.38 ERA) will make his 17th start of the season.

"I got two more (starts)," Gossett said. "I just want to get deeper into games. I want to execute my pitches later in the games. I feel like early in the games when I'm fresh, I'm not tired, I feel like that's when I execute my pitches the best.

"But I want to be able to execute them later in the games, second, third times through the lineup be able to execute pitches with a plan and be able to move deeper into games."

Gossett is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in two career starts against the Mariners, both this season at Seattle.

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