Colon draws start for A's in Seattle

Bartolo Colon gets his final tuneup before the postseason begins on Friday when the Oakland Athletics close out their regular season with the first of three games against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

Colon has been one of the best pitchers in the American League this season, posting a 17-6 mark to go along with a 2.64 ERA. The former AL Cy Young Award winner has been even better lately, as he has won his last three starts, while pitching to a 0.90 ERA in that span.

The 40-year-old right-hander has not allowed a run in his last 19 innings - which is an A's season high - is tied for the AL lead in ERA, tied for second in wins and tied for third in winning percentage (.739).

"He's been talking about getting his second wind," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "We're seeing the movement and the velocity coming back."

Seattle certainly knows how good Colon has been, as he is 3-0 with a 1.76 ERA in his last four starts against the Mariners.

Oakland has stumbled a bit since securing its second straight AL West crown. The Athletics have lost two in a row, but are still in the mix for the best record in the American League, as they sit two games back of the Boston Red Sox with three games to play.

Getting a win may be difficult on Friday, as Seattle will throw a former Cy Young winner of its own in Felix Hernandez, who has beaten the A's twice this season and hasn't allowed a run in 14 2/3 innings against them.

Hernandez returned on Sunday after missing nearly three weeks with a strained left oblique and struck out 10 Los Angeles Angels over four innings in Seattle's 3-2 win.

The right-hander needs to last 1 2/3 innings Friday to finish with his sixth straight season of at least 200.

"It's important to me," Hernandez said. "That's why they have me here, to pitch, right? Every year, I try to reach 200 or more."

Seattle relished its role of spoiler this week, as it took two of three from Kansas City to end the Royals' slim postseason hopes. The Mariners have won three of four overall and are 10-6 versus the A's this season.