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09/24: Open game thread

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Taijuan Walker vs. Mark Buehrle

Bob Levey

It has been a painful slide to watch.The Mariners' pitching staff, which has consisted of a bunch of aces led by the best ace of them all -- Felix Hernandez, has chosen the wrong time to become mortal. In the past seven games, the Mariners pitching staff owns a FIP of 5.00. In that same timespan, the Mariners' offense has been equally dreadful, hitting a .212/.269/.346 split and owning a wRC+ mark of 76. Not a winning combination.

It is hard to pick on what portion of everything going wrong hurts more. The Mariners offense hasn't been exactly awe inducing at all this season and the beyond superb job of the pitching staff this season is the only reason that we are even having a game thread that registers any emotion other than apathy. Still, when you see stats like this, it makes me cringe.

The Mariners are three games out of the final wild-card spot with five games left to play. The odds aren't great. But the odds also aren't dead just quite yet. For the Mariners to get back on track, they'll need a pitching performance that actually gives the offense a chance to pull out a win. For that reason, maybe it is just as good that Taijuan Walker takes the mound. He was the last Mariners starting pitcher to pitch something resembling a decent game, back on Sept. 19 when he held off the Houston Astros over 5.2 innings, giving up eight hits, two walks and recording seven strikeouts in the process.

He'll be going up against a Toronto team that is just playing for pride at this point. The Blue Jays have won three of their last four but were eliminated from a spot in October after the Royals beat the Indians on Tuesday. That isn't stopping the Blue Jays from throwing some of their big name bats out there. Mark Buehrle takes the mound for Toronto. He is 7-4 with a 3.82 ERA over 17 appearances against the Mariners, but he also hasn't faced Seattle since 2011. There is still hope for the season. The fact that we can say there is still hope for the season means we still care.


Game notes

  • Seattle Mariners @ Toronto Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m. PT
  • The game is broadcast on ROOT, radio is on 710 ESPN and an online stream for out-of-market viewers is at MLB.tv.
  • Wild-card update: The Mariners need to win all the time every time.

Today's lineup

Seattle Mariners Toronto Blue Jays
Austin Jackson (R) CF Jose Reyes (S) SS
Dustin Ackley (L) LF Jose Bautista (R) RF
Robinson Cano (L) 2B Edwin Encarnacion (R) DH
Kendrys Morales (S) 1B Adam Lind (L) 1B
Kyle Seager (L) 3B Dioner Navaro (S) C
Logan Morrison (L) RF Dalton Pompey (S) LF
Corey Hart (R) DH Munenori Kawasaki (L) 3B
Mike Zunino (R) C Anthony Gose (L) CF
Chris Taylor (R) SS Ryan Goins (L) 2B
Taijuan Walker - RHP Mark Buehrle - LHP