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4/19/18: Open Game Thread

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The Mariners are coming out of this series above .500 no matter what(!)

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

After taking game one of this four game set with Houston, many fans seem to be heated over back-to-back losses in games two and three. As for me, I would have been thrilled if you told me before the season started that we’d be over .500 17 games into the season having played seven games against a pair of teams that won 100+ games last season; predominantly without 3/8 of our starting lineup.

While the M’s manage to miss Astros ace Justin Verlander, they face another tough matchup today in Charlie Morton, whose peripherals suggest he’s outpitched Verlander on a per-start basis for the last few seasons. Several Mariners hitters have a good amount of experience seeing Morton, headed up by Jean Segura, who has faced the right-handed 33 times, mostly from their time they shared in the NL. Ben Gamel (2-5 with a home run) and Dee Gordon (3-6) have had noteworthy success against Morton, while Kyle Seager (1-10) and Mitch Haniger (1-8) have had their fair share of struggles with him.

Seattle counters by sending Marco Gonzales out today, who will look to right the ship after failing to escape the fourth inning in either of his last two starts. He’s tested with an Astros lineup that ranks 8th in all of baseball vs. left-handed pitchers with a 113 wRC+, although we just saw lefty James Paxton work six strong innings against them on Monday. While Marco lacks the stuff of Big Maple, he has the benefit of being mostly unfamiliar to this Astros lineup, having faced nobody featured in it more than once.

One interesting development in today’s lineup is that David Freitas draws a start in back-to-back days, which *could* be an early indicator of the club’s preference to keep him around and option Mike Marjama to Tacoma when Mike Zunino comes back of the DL this weekend.

Lineups:

Game time: 12:40 PST

TV: Root Sports NW

Radio: 710 ESPN