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8/30: Open game thread

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Roenis Elias vs. Stephen Strasburg.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

First, the bad news: Before this weekend, the Mariners had not lost back-to-back games since the tail end of July. In two games, they gave up 20 runs, equal to the number of runs they gave up in the previous seven contests. Felix looked shaky, as he has for the last few games. In both games, the Mariners managed to score a single run in the ninth inning, but were facing such drastic deficits that the rally had no discernible effect on the outcome.

The good news: The Mariners are still in the thick of the wild card race. Rosters expand on Monday. King Felix still ranks among the top three most valuable pitchers in the major leagues. More satisfyingly, the Tigers lost the first half of their doubleheader this afternoon.

Like Felix and Zimmermann in last night's game, neither Roenis Elias nor Stephen Strasburg have faced each other's respective teams before. Strasburg is 10-10 this season, leading all National League pitchers with 28 starts and 202 strikeouts and ranking second with a 2.62 xFIP. In his last outing, the right-hander made his shortest start of the year after giving up eight hits, five runs, two walks, and two home runs in four innings against the Giants. He's struggled both with fastball command and with limiting line drives, particularly to left-handed batters. Fortunately for him (and unfortunately for the M's), he's also averaging 4.80 runs per appearance, something that helped a great deal when the Nationals crushed the Giants 14-6 in their last meeting.

Roenis Elias is looking for his 10th win tonight after dropping his last two starts this month. He hasn't lasted longer than five innings since June, but has put together solid performances nonetheless, keeping teams under two runs a game for his last six appearances. He currently holds 10th place among major league rookies with 1.4 fWAR, a 3.91 xFIP, and 132 strikeouts in 143 2/3 innings pitched.

Game notes

  • Mariners vs. Nationals, 6:10 p.m. PST
  • Tonight's game will be televised on ROOT Sports, broadcast at 710 ESPN, and available to out-of-market fans at MLB TV here.
  • Mariners ballpark giveaway: Felix Hernandez Bobbleheads (limited to the first 20,000 fans)
  • Second wild card status: After last night's loss, the Mariners are now trailing the Tigers by half a game. Detroit dropped Game 1 of its doubleheader this afternoon and now leads the White Sox 2-0 through the first three innings of Game 2.

Today's Lineups

WASHINGTON NATIONALS SEATTLE MARINERS
Denard Span - CF Austin Jackson - CF
Anthony Rendon - 3B Dustin Ackley - LF
Jayson Werth - RF Robinson Cano - 2B
Adam LaRoche - 1B Kendrys Morales - DH
Ian Desmond - SS Kyle Seager - 3B
Bryce Harper - LF Logan Morrison - 1B
Wilson Ramos - DH Chris Taylor - SS
Asdrubal Cabrera - 2B James Jones - RF
Jose Lobaton - C Jesus Sucre - C
Stephen Strasburg - RHP Roenis Elias - LHP