One of my absolute favorite nonsensicalities in sports coverage is the concept of the “pivotal” game in a series. It’s most pronounced in the playoffs, where games are not yet elimination threats, yet need some term to convey magnitude. Tonight’s game, opener of a four-game set with the Oakland Athletics as it may be, is PIVOTAL for Seattle’s trajectory this season, as are all seven games of this homestand, taken as a whole.
Thankfully for the Seattle Mariners, they have one of their steadiest pitchers on the mound to kick things off, as Chris Flexen faces resurgent lefty Sean Manaea. It’s an unfortunate matchup on the whole for the M’s, who remain one of the league’s most lefty-heavy lineups even with Jake Fraley still sidelined after catching COVID-19. As our Jake Mailhot noted in his series preview, the A’s are somewhat of a ragged bunch despite a few straight years of near-100 win clubs, with Matt Chapman still mired in a down year a lineup thoroughly buoyed by Matt Olson and Mark “Matt” Canha.
Seattle also shuffled their roster a bit, demoting RHP Yohan Ramírez who worked last night’s game and calling up some bench depth as they continue to operate shorthanded due to the suspension of Hector Santiago.
Mariners roster moves:— Mariners PR (@MarinersPR) July 22, 2021
Donovan Walton, INF, recalled from Triple-A Tacoma.
Yohan Ramirez, RHP, optioned to Triple-A Tacoma.
Game Time: 7:10 PM PST
TV: ROOT NW
Radio/Online: The usual suspects