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9/15: Open game thread

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Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Matt Shoemaker

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Mariners had their chance to make a statement in the AL West and push past the A's for the top wild card spot. Instead, the offense continued its disappearing act. The Mariners fell to 2.5 games behind the A's and are a full game behind the Kansas City Royals. Tonight marks the first of four road games against the Los Angeles Angels, one of the best teams in baseball. This is September baseball baby.

The Mariners draw rookie Matt Shoemaker, who at 15-4 is one of the many reasons the Angels have the best record in baseball. He is the unlikely hero of the Angels rotation. He went undrafted out of Eastern Michigan University and spent much of his minor league career with middling numbers at best. Something changed this year, and now Shoemaker owns a 3.29 xFIP over 26 games (19 starts). He will most likely be at or near the forefront for Rookie of the Year discussion in the AL. Shoemaker has been rolling over his past five starts, going 32.1 innings and giving up just four earned runs (and just one home run) -- perfect kind of person for a Mariners offense that is struggling to put runs on the board to face.

Hisashi Iwakuma takes the mound for the Mariners and can hopefully piece together a quality start here. Iwakuma is still having a great year, walking nobody and posting a xFIP of 2.84. But in his past four games he has come back down to Earth. He has 16 base on balls in 25 games this season, a quarter of those have been in the past four games. He had a bit of bad luck against the Nationals, but in the past two months he has had two of his worst starts of the season. In his last time on the mound against the Astros, Iwakuma lasted 4.1 innings before getting pulled. Oddly enough, a game against the Angels might be what the doctor prescribed. Iwakuma is 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA in seven career starts against the Angels. The Mariners will need that version of Iwakuma while the lineup works out its kinks. Seattle holds a wRC+ of 84 as a team since the start of September. The Angels, of course they do, sit at the other opposite end of the spectrum, holding a wRC+ of 134 in the same timespan -- good for tops in the majors.

Game info

  • Seattle Mariners @ Los Angeles Angels, 7:05 p.m. PT
  • TV: ROOT, Radio: 710 ESPN, Online: MLB.tv
  • Dustin Ackley is back in the lineup after sitting out the games on Saturday and Sunday.

Today's lineup

Seattle Mariners Los Angeles Lakers
Austin Jackson (R) CF Kole Calhoun (L) RF
Dustin Ackley (L) LF Mike Trout (R) CF
Robinson Cano (L) 2B Albert Pujols (R) 1B
Kyle Seager (L) 3B Howie Kendrick (R) 2B
Kendrys Morales (S) DH Erick Aybar (S) SS
Logan Morrison (L) 1B David Freese (R) 3B
Michael Saunders (L) RF Brennan Boesch (L) DH
Mike Zunino (L) C Hank Conger (S) C
Brad Miller (L) SS Efren Navarro (L) LF
Hisashi Iwakuma - RHP Matt Shoemaker - RHP