Totally thrown by the early start time, so an abbreviated game thread introduction. As if the game really needed one.
Tonight Felix Hernandez faces off against Oakland nominal ace Sonny Gray in the most important game in Seattle baseball history since yesterday, and until tomorrow. The winner of the game holds the first Wild-Card position in the American League. As Jeff notes over at USSM, we're essentially looking at fifteen games of playoff baseball to decide who gets to qualify for one extra game of playoff baseball, and it's fantastic.
Starters: Felix is Felix, which is the happiest tautology in the history of Introduction to Logic courses. Sonny Gray is not Felix. Gray's fortunes have turned with his team. At the end of July, Gray stood almost as dominant as he was in 2013, but since the plague hit the team, he's given up 30 runs in 51 innings, his strikeouts are down to six per nine, and all his flyballs started leaving the yard (14%, double his previous rate). Gray did look sharp in his last start against Kansas City, going seven, striking out seven and giving up only one run and three hits.
Bullpens: Both bullpens are basically at full strength. The only guy you might not see is Carson Smith, who threw 28 fine pitches yesterday.
Lineups: The big news is that Dustin Ackley sits again to rest that damnable ankle, to be replaced by Endy Chavez in left. James Jones starts in right, and Chris Taylor gets the start at shortstop against the tough right-hander. Chris Taylor is also right-handed, so that sentence didn't make a lot of sense.
|OAKLAND A'S||SEATTLE MARINERS|
|Coco Crisp - CF||Austin Jackson - CF|
|Sam Fuld - LF||Endy Chavez - LF|
|Josh Donaldson - 3B||Robinson Cano - 2B|
|Adam Dunn - DH||Kendrys Morales - DH|
|Brandon Moss - 1B||Kyle Seager - 3B|
|Jed Lowrie - SS||Logan Morrison - 1B|
|Josh Reddick - RF||Mike Zunino - C|
|Derek Norris - C||James Jones - RF|
|Eric Sogard - 2B||Chris Taylor - SS|
|Sonny Gray - RHP||Felix Hernandez - RHP|