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Open Thread: Game 158 - Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners (1)

First game thread for Game 158 - Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners (1)

To say that today's game--the A's fifth to last game of the 2012 season--is an important one would be severely overstating the obvious. Instead, I'll just mention the amazing race that we have going on in the American League right now. Nearly all of the playoff spots have been decided in the National League--four teams clinched a playoff berth last week, but as of today's game, not a single team in the AL has clinched a playoff spot. That bears repeating: Every single team in the AL that is fighting for a spot in the playoffs could miss the playoffs with a losing streak. The A's are no exception; these games should be treated like they are the playoffs, and we should certainly enjoy them as if they are winner-take-all.

The A's play Seattle tonight in what can absolutely not be thought of as a break from their grueling September schedule. Seattle is still a major league baseball team, and is still fielding a team in Oakland this afternoon, so the A's should play accordingly. This game is huge; they are facing a pitcher with considerable success against them, and they are throwing an unproven, untested, struggling rookie against the Mariners.

Dan Straily will be facing off against Jason Vargas in today's game. The Angels/Texas (barring rain) will be playing at the same time, as will Detroit, Chicago and Tampa Bay. The Yankees are trailing 3-2 in the seventh, and Baltimore plays at 4. But our focus is on this one, where the A's will try their best to make it two in a row.

Here are your lineups: