This weekend marks the return of college football and the weather here in Seattle seems to have decided to go Full Fall all at once. The Seahawks made a big splashy trade and talk has turned to football, football, and more football. And yet there is baseball to be played still as the Mariners grind out the last game before rosters expand tomorrow. And there is baseball news! Let’s get down to it.
First order of business: TANKATHON 2020. The Mariners remain in sixth position as the Pirates have decided to try winning and the Rockies have started to freefall, which is a dangerous thing to do when your team is named after a mountain range. In case you are interested in keeping up with the standings for the race to the bottom, the TANKATHON website is updated frequently and has a cute little graphic of a tank.
Second order of business: FanPulse! Once again, the line of confidence in the team’s direction remains remarkably steady for Mariners fans, with maybe the tiniest uptick.
I was surprised to see the numbers hold mostly steady after the Yankees sweep, but it wasn’t like the Mariners got embarrassed off the field; they just got beat by a much, much better team. I’m wondering how much strong prospect performances are driving these ratings. Having Jarred Kelenic, Logan Gilbert, and Julioooooo all hit virtually their best possible outcomes in their first full professional seasons is a confidence boost that extends beyond the individual players.
(The more interesting FanPulse questions, results-wise, tend to be the national questions. This week’s question focused on the old “is it okay to bunt to break up a no-hitter? 70% of people who were able to use the Internet to answer that question said “yes,” mostly because “duh” wasn’t listed as an answer choice.)
Reminder that you can join FanPulse and vote—it’s easy, fun, and free—simply by clicking here. And if college football is your thing, there’s a special FanPulse vote where you can rank the top programs, AP-style, each week. Find out more here.
Third order of business: news!
JP Crawford is getting the day off. He’s been bothered by a tight hamstring. Jake Fraley is unavailable due to personal reasons— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) August 31, 2019
JP Crawford is one of the few fun things about watching the 2019 Mariners, so having him out is a bummer. It is good news for Dylan Moore, who is probably very happy to be back on dirt.
Fraley’s wife Angelica was very close with Emily Bivens, who was murdered in a triple homicide a few days ago. Fraley and Blake Bivens were teammates in Tampa Bay’s organization. I feel such sadness for everyone involved in this tragedy, and terrible for Fraley himself, who is living out his dream of making it to MLB while at the same time burdened by this awful sadness. If you would like to donate to the Bivens family, there is a GoFundMe here.
(for Keon, I guess. Maybe for my Tankathon hopes. Definitely for the dugout after celebrating a Kyle Seager home run.)
Keon Broxton's suspension appeal was heard by MLB and it was reduced from two games to one game. He will serve it on Sunday.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) August 31, 2019
Not Mariners news, technically, but still of interest:
Sounds like speedster Ian Miller will be joining the #MNTwins. He will need to be added to the 40-man.— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) August 31, 2019
He’s certainly earned his shot, and I for one will fly into a paroxysm of delight when Ian Miller replaces Nelson Cruz as a pinch-runner in an extra-innings game and steals home to defeat the Astros in the ALCS. MAKE IT HAPPEN, BASEBALL GODS.
Fourth order of business: oh yeah, there’s a game today.
#Mariners Gameday Info - August 31 at #Rangers. Lineups, Game Notes & More: https://t.co/9Q89xvQIwE pic.twitter.com/TiW8HWh5AF— MarinersPR (@MarinersPR) August 31, 2019
Okay so a Tommy Milone start is not...exciting. Austin Nola catching Tommy Milone, though? That has some potential intrigue. It boggles my mind the Rangers are giving plate appearances to Jeff Mathis with his SINGLE DIGIT wRC+ (although tonight Jose Trevino is back there) while we have so many dang catchers we can’t fit ‘em all in the lineup. I’m really hoping for an Omar Narvaez pinch-hitting for Vogelbach scenario, so we can have all three catchers in the lineup at once.
Game time: 5:05 PM; available on ROOT/710; if you want to listen to the opposing audio, you can go to TuneIn and dial up 103.5 The Fan. I feel bad I don’t listen to other announcers enough, but it’s very hard for me to give up Mike Blowers. I always learn something from him.
If you’re interested in having some Mariners minors along with your MLB, Arkansas plays just up the road from where the big club is (haha lies, it’s actually a five and a half hour drive, Texas is ridiculous) beginning at 5. Justin Dunn gets the start as the Travs try to bounce back from the worst shellacking they’ve taken all season. Modesto continues to fight for its playoff life tonight at 7, and if you tune in to the radio broadcast a little ahead of time (say like, 6:50), Keaton Gillogly will be interviewing some of the bullpen arms about breaking the decades-old California League strikeout record, and the impact pitching coach Rob Marcello Jr.—who I think is going to be one of the big pitching names people are talking about in a few years, in line with Brent Strom or Ray Searage—has had on the club. Tune in, even if you insist on watching WSU beat up on poor NM State.