First things first: as was noted in the comments for the post below, Alex Ramirez is no longer a member of the Yomiuri Giants. The slugging outfielder signed a contract with the Yokohama Bay Stars, who the Mariners will not be playing. Tough break for all of you who really wanted to see the Mariners go up against Alex Ramirez.
Not that that would've been much of an option anyway. This game between the Mariners and the Giants is not broadcast on American TV. It's not broadcast on American radio. It's starting at three in the morning on the west coast. The Mariners already have regular season games at three and two in the morning this week. Maybe you plan to stay up or wake up and track down streaming video of a Japanese broadcast, but in that event you are just a way bigger Mariners fan than I am. I mean - no, not in a million years. I don't get enough sleep when they play the baseball at normal times in the day.
I do have a Gameday link to share with you. You know, if you're up. This is a game thread for insomniacs, graveyard shifters, and homeless addicts in the library. So it's probably going to look a lot like any other game thread. Jokes! Do you see the joke that I made at your expense?
As it happens, I see that the A's are losing to the Hanshin Tigers 9-5 in the eighth inning right now, as I'm typing this. As I was typing that, it became 10-5. I don't have a very good understanding of English football but I'm pretty sure that if we were playing by those rules the Hanshin Tigers would be promoted to Major League Baseball and either the A's or the Mariners would get the boot. Based on current run differential, the A's. Say, Bud Selig, you want an innovative solution to the whole San Jose mess?
No word that I've seen on the Mariners' starting lineup. I'd expect the starters again, with backups entering in the later innings. Hisashi Iwakuma will go on the mound and that'll be a neat experience that nobody in North America can follow. Recall that Iwakuma pitched for Rakuten, not Yomiuri. The last time he faced Yomiuri was last May 17. He threw five shutout innings, with three strikeouts. That was his last start before missing a couple months on account of his shoulder. If Iwakuma can throw five shutout innings with a bad shoulder then if he's healthy now I don't see why he wouldn't throw a perfect game.
Expected to start for the Giants is D.J. Houlton. Haha, former Dodger starting for the Giants. Houlton's actual initials are D.S. for Dennis Sean but he's too low-profile for anybody to care. He's 32 and right-handed and he throws his fastball below 90 miles per hour. He's faced Miguel Olivo and Luis Rodriguez before, but Rodriguez didn't go to Japan and Baseball-Reference tells me he's faced Olivo once. He generated a double play, in 2007. Two outs per plate appearance! If Eric Wedge knows what's good for him, this one's gonna have a lot of John Jaso.