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7/28/20: Open Game Thread

back in a normal stadium thank goodness

MLB: Seattle Mariners-Workouts Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

I think all of us would have been satisfied if we were told last Thursday that the Mariners would have taken one game out of four from the Astros. Though the finale ultimately disappointed, there were still good things to take from it, including Evan White’s massive first big league home run. The Angels represent an opponent much closer to the Mariners’ level of talent, and with Seattle facing a lefty starter for the first time this season, the lineup looks, shall we say, different:

Tim Lopes at DH and hitting fifth sure is... something, but as Greg Johns notes, he was strong against southpaws in a limited sample last year, and he’ll likely slot in again tomorrow against Andrew Heaney. Dylan Moore makes his season debut in left field, White gets bumped up to second in the order, and J.P. Crawford, despite a hot series in Houston, moves down to seventh. All things considered, this is probably the best possible lineup against a lefty in Patrick Sandoval - which isn’t saying a ton, but there’s plenty of intrigue to go around, and that doesn’t even include Justus Sheffield making his first start of 2020.

The Angels counter with a righty-heavy lineup of their own, with Shohei Ohtani and Tommy La Stella the lone left-handed swingers. Anthony Rendon makes his long-awaited Angels debut, and I’ll be watching for Sheffield to deploy the changeup - a pitch that exceeded many expectations down the stretch last year. Sandoval is just five months younger than Sheffield, and brings a solid curveball and a changeup he threw over 30% of the time in 39.1 big league innings last season. His control can wobble at times (11.2% BB% in 2019), so if Seattle can stay patient, they should be in a good position to score some runs.

UPDATE 5:18pm: We have a new lineup and a big league debut on our hands!

Joe Odom, added to the active roster about thirty minutes ago, replaces Austin Nola at catcher. While it’s unknown why Nola was scratched, here’s hoping he’s back soon - 2020 may rival 2015 for catcher offensive ineptitude if he’s out for longer than a few days.

Game Time: 6:40pm PDT

TV: ROOT Sports,

Radio: 710 ESPN