This is fun. I don't care how absurd it is to enjoy a big series in the first week of May. And I certainly don't mind what fans of other teams—especially those of our opponent—might think about us reveling in reaching .500 thirty games into the season. It really doesn't matter, because this is sports, and it doesn't have to make any sense.
It's especially fun because this is a sentence to get to write: with the Mariners facing the A's and looking to pull within two games of first place, they'll have Roenis Elias on the bump—the Cuban rookie who struck out 10 in his last start out, at Yankee Stadium. I've been waiting for some serious regression from Elias, I think we all have, but he looks better and better each time out. Just look a this shit:
In turn, the Athletics will be rolling out their own surprise stud in Jesse Chavez. The righty is running a nice 2.68 xFIP and an even cleaner 1.89 ERA. Chavez is currently the best in baseball at getting called strikes, so it'll be interesting to see how that meshes with the Mariners' hacktastic-but-improving approach.
As mentioned, Chavez is a righty, so the Mariners are going all-lefty-everything against him. James Jones is getting his first major league start, and batting second. A lot of people have taken issue with Lloyd McClendon's batting order, as number-two hitters on the year are OPS'ing a fresh .532. But while lineup order issues have become en vogue after being something of a faux pas previously, I take more issue with the sequencing.
My defense before for Lloyd batting a various cast of characters second, particularly Romero, was that it broke up the lefties and limited the potential for an opponent to bring in a murderous lefty and wipe out an inning's worth of batters. That won't be the case tonight, as they have four lefties in a row and won't be able to get a pinch-hitter in there without sacrificing defense, which is risky in what would surely be a close game. The only way you avoid that is getting Ackley in there at second, and I'm not sure that's the best idea either.
Anyway, here we go. It's the Mariners and Athletics in a game that counts the same in May as it does in September. The Athletics won't be coming off a cross-continental flight tonight, and this is scary as hell. Let's hang out on the internet and watch some baseball.
Wait, actually, one more thing. If you're not listening to the Mariners' official podcast, it's pretty great—and daily (on weekdays). Fernando Rodney, apparently, can sometimes be loud in the clubhouse. Here's one exchange between he and Shannon Drayer on what he's like in the morning.
- Mariners @ Athletics, 7:05 PM PST
- TV: ROOT, Radio: 710 ESPN
|SEATTLE MARINERS||OAKLAND A'S|
|M. Saunders - RF||Coco Crisp - CF|
|James Jones - CF||Jed Lowrie - SS|
|Robinson Cano - 2B||Josh Donaldson - 3B|
|Corey Hart - DH||Yoenis Cespedes - LF|
|Justin Smoak - 1B||Derek Norris - C|
|Kyle Seager - 3B||A. Callaspo - DH|
|Dustin Ackley - LF||Craig Gentry - RF|
|Mike Zunino - C||Brandon Moss - 1B|
|Brad Miller - SS||Nick Punto - 2B|