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7-22-18: Open Game Thread

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Return of the Mike

Kansas City Royals v Seattle Mariners
Hug him good and never let go, Marco
Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

Perhaps you may have heard, but the M’s were nearly no-hit last night by a pitcher who had allowed four, four, eight, six, and four earned runs in his previous five starts. Today they add Mike Zunino back to a lineup that is the current Mariners’ version of full strength. Perhaps more importantly, they get Zunino’s defensive presence behind the plate back, and his familiarity with the pitching staff.

Today, the pitching staff turns to Marco Gonzales. This season Marco has been as trustworthy as nearly any pitcher in the American League. His fWAR, FIP, xFIP, and ERA are all among the top-10 of AL pitchers, and if you like counting stats, his 10 wins puts Marco level with Chris Sale, Gerrit Cole, and Justin Verlander. Facing a White Sox lineup that features 31-year-old Jose Abreu as its elder statesman, Marco gives Seattle a great chance to take the rubber match of this series.

Now for the offense. Fun clubhouse antics aside, the hitters could really use a wake-up call. While getting dominated by Dylan Covey could be chalked up to unfamiliarity with the Sox’ starter, a team with playoff aspirations should expect more than three runs over two games with the bottom-feeding South Siders. A semi-breakout (just, like, five or six runs, guys) would be a sight for sore eyes today. Whether it comes from an All-Star, a bottom of the lineup guy, or someone off the bench, the Mariners crave a big day of run producing from someone.

Lineups:

First Pitch: 1:10 p.m. PT

TV: ROOT Sports NW, mlb.TV for out of market viewers

Radio: 710 ESPN, MLB At-Bat app