Upon returning to civilization after holing up on a remote island in the northern Puget Sound for the past several days, I was not especially surprised to discover that the Seattle Mariners had been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.
In fact, the M’s now sit just 2.5 games above the Oakland Athletics, who have been one of the best teams in baseball over the past several weeks.
They’ve won 7 games in a row, and 14 of their last 17, which includes sweeps of the Tigers and Rangers, and, oh yeah, the freaking Astros.
They’ve also been quietly lights-out at home, posting a 45-33 record on the season in the Coliseum. Maybe there’s something in the water. You know, besides the dead rats.
Félix Hernández will take the mound tonight for the M’s, meaningless baseball be damned. The King has actually shown flashes of his former self since returning from the DL on September 14th—he was perfect through 3 innings last Wednesday—but has been limited for obvious reasons.
His Oakland counterpart, righty Daniel Gossett, has put together a respectable rookie season since his June debut, but has struggled in September, posting a 5.80 FIP and a BB/9 of 5.49. He also collected the loss in his last appearance against the M’s.
Gossett will also be without his stalwart center fielder, ex-Mariner and ex-ex-Athletic Boog Powell, who is out of the lineup for his 8th consecutive game with a swollen knee. We wish him a speedy recovery, but it’s probably for the best he won’t start tonight, considering he almost certainly would go 3-5 with a couple of RBIs while Yonder Alonso golden sombrero’s.
The M’s will have a couple different faces in the lineup for this evening’s contest: Taylor Motter gets the start at shortstop to spell Jean Segura who is day-to-day with a sprained finger, and rookie Jacob Hannemann will take the reins in center field, his first career big-league start.
Meanwhile rookie Bruce Maxwell who made waves on Saturday for [*redacted*] will catch tonight for the A’s.
We know this is meaningless baseball. But for that reason it should be pressure-free, and, well, fun. Meaningless baseball sure seems to have done a world of good for the A’s.
So, go Félix. Go M’s. Have fun out there.
Just please try not to hurt yourselves.
|SEATTLE MARINERS||OAKLAND A'S|
|Ben Gamel - LF||Marcus Semien - SS|
|Mitch Haniger - RF||Matt Joyce - RF|
|Robinson Cano - 2B||Jed Lowrie - 2B|
|Nelson Cruz - DH||Khris Davis - DH|
|Kyle Seager - 3B||Ryon Healy - 1B|
|Yonder Alonso - 1B||Matt Chapman - 3B|
|Mike Zunino - C||Bruce Maxwell - C|
|Taylor Motter - SS||Mark Canha - LF|
|Jacob Hannemann - CF||Jake Smolinski - CF|
|Felix Hernandez - RHP||Daniel Gossett - RHP|