The last time the Mariners were in Toronto, they swept the Blue Jays in two thrilling games to secure the Wild Card and advance to the ALDS. Take a moment to breathe in the rarefied air of that memory, because things are quite different these days. Both teams are hovering near the bottom of their respective divisions, but in Toronto’s case, that’s because they’re playing in a division with the world-wrecking Tampa Bay Rays, as well as a Baltimore team that’s exceeding even raised expectations (Lucille Bluth voice: Good for her, honestly, those people in Baltimore have suffered enough bad baseball for a while). For the Mariners, that’s because they’re playing poorly in a division where the best team would be fifth in the AL East. Rough times. Add to that the fact that this Blue Jays team will be eagerly awaiting revenge for the pantsing the Mariners handed them at home last year in the Wild Card series and well...tonight might be a good night to second-screen the Mariners, which you’re probably doing anyway if you’re a hockey or hockey-adjacent fan.
If you like good pitching matchups, though, tonight is your night:
Eugenio gets a turn at DH and we get to see how Caballero handles himself at third base. Jarred climbs all the way into the three-hole and Cal Raleigh, who is quietly having a very tough stretch to open the season, assumes Jarred’s former duties at the top of the lower half of the lineup. This is also Teoscar Hernández’s first chance to see the team that was willing to trade him away and a fanbase that was fairly rude to him re: his base running (at least in my recollection), so I hope Teo hits three homers and steals five bags this series.
Refresh your memory on these pesky pesky Blue Jays with the series preview here.
Tonight’s game information:
Tonight’s game starts at 4:07 PT, well ahead of the Kraken game, but it will be on ROOT Sports Plus anyway for those of you who watch via cable (channel 1253 if you’re on Xfinity/Comcast). Aaron Goldsmith and Dan Wilson will have the TV call, and Rick Rizzs and Dave Sims will be on the radio (710 AM Seattle Sports).
Today in Mariners history:
1999: Freddy Garcia sets a Mariners rookie record by improving to 3-0 to begin his career. Mariners history isn’t as rich as some other clubs’ just by dint of not being around for as long, but I have always loved the through-line that can be traced from Freddy wearing #34 to Félix wearing #34 to various minor-leaguers the Mariners sign internationally choosing the number as a sign of respect (currently #34 is being worn by low-minors pitching prospect Kristian Cardozo at the Rookie level).