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Game Thread #148: Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners

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Felix Hernandez will attempt to throw Major League Baseball's 24th perfect game and become the first to throw two as his Seattle Mariners take on the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field tonight.

Welp.
Welp.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Game two of this final regular-season series between the Athletics and Mariners kicks off at 6:10 PM Pacific Time tonight. Taking the hill for the Green and Gold is Sonny Gray, who brings a 13-8 record and 3.22 ERA into this contest. In three career starts at Safeco Field, Gray has conceded just a single earned run. While coming off a quality start against the Chicago White Sox on September 8, his last start against the Mariners on September 2 did not go well. He left that game charged with six runs in just five innings.

Now some good news:

The first of these "helpful" right-handed pitchers is tonight's Seattle starter, Felix Hernandez. There was a moment in the second half of August when people thought, "Maybe Hernandez gets tired toward the end of the year," when he managed a 5.09 ERA in three starts between August 16-29. And then he went to the Coliseum and got his mojo back with an eight-inning one-run victory.

Tonight will be Oakland's sixth game this season against Hernandez. The first five have have all been decided in favor of Seattle by one or two runs. The closest the A's came to victory was a 6-4 extra-inning loss on May 7, when Hernandez failed to strike anyone out and allowed 11 hits in 6⅓ innings. Oakland's last victory against King Felix was September 27, 2013, a meaningless Game 161 with then-Seattle manager Eric Wedge playing out the string and the Athletics trying to stay loose for the upcoming postseason.

For a meaningful game, you'll have to go back to September 7, 2012 in which the A's won 6-1.

Hey! Maybe there's something about September starts against Felix Hernandez.

No. No. He'll throw a perfect game. Keep expectations low.

Today's Lineups

OAKLAND A'S SEATTLE MARINERS
Coco Crisp - CF Austin Jackson - CF
Sam Fuld - LF Endy Chavez - LF
Josh Donaldson - 3B Robinson Cano - 2B
Adam Dunn - DH Kendrys Morales - DH
Brandon Moss - 1B Kyle Seager - 3B
Jed Lowrie - SS Logan Morrison - 1B
Josh Reddick - RF Mike Zunino - C
Derek Norris - C James Jones - RF
Eric Sogard - 2B Chris Taylor - SS
Sonny Gray - RHP Felix Hernandez - RHP

No surprises on who is starting for the Athletics, unless you want to argue about Alberto Callaspo's relative success at slapping singles against Hernandez.

Athletics vs. Felix Hernandez (through Sep. 12)
Name PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Coco Crisp 68 63 15 1 1 0 2 4 13 .238 .284 .286 .569
2 Sam Fuld 14 14 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 .143 .143 .143 .286
3 Josh Donaldson 33 30 5 1 0 0 2 2 8 .167 .212 .200 .412
4 Adam Dunn 19 15 4 0 0 3 3 4 5 .267 .421 .867 1.288
5 Brandon Moss 36 36 9 2 1 1 4 0 13 .250 .250 .444 .694
6 Jed Lowrie 34 34 9 1 0 1 2 0 8 .265 .265 .382 .647
7 Josh Reddick 36 35 5 1 0 0 0 1 6 .143 .167 .171 .338
8 Derek Norris 12 9 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 .000 .250 .000 .250
9 Eric Sogard 28 25 5 0 0 0 0 2 2 .200 .259 .200 .459
Alberto Callaspo 52 48 14 1 0 1 6 3 6 .292 .327 .375 .702
Jonny Gomes 17 14 3 0 0 0 2 2 6 .214 .294 .214 .508
Nick Punto 15 12 1 0 0 0 0 3 3 .083 .267 .083 .350
Craig Gentry 10 9 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 .111 .200 .222 .422
Stephen Vogt 8 7 3 0 0 1 1 1 0 .429 .500 .857 1.357
Geovany Soto 5 5 2 0 0 0 2 0 3 .400 .400 .400 .800
Nate Freiman 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 389 358 78 8 2 7 25 25 85 .218 .269 .310 .579

If there is a Mariners killer on the Athletics, it is Sonny Gray:

Mariners vs. Sonny Gray (through Sep. 12)
Name PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Austin Jackson 13 13 3 0 0 0 2 0 6 .231 .231 .231 .462
2 Endy Chavez 6 5 2 1 0 0 2 1 0 .400 .500 .600 1.100
3 Robinson Cano 13 12 4 1 0 0 2 1 1 .333 .385 .417 .801
4 Kendrys Morales 8 7 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 .143 .250 .143 .393
5 Kyle Seager 18 16 4 0 0 1 2 2 4 .250 .333 .438 .771
6 Logan Morrison 11 11 3 1 0 0 0 0 2 .273 .273 .364 .636
7 Mike Zunino 7 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .143 .143 .143 .286
8 James Jones 4 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .250 .250 .250 .500
9 Chris Taylor 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Brad Miller 17 16 4 0 0 0 1 1 2 .250 .294 .250 .544
Dustin Ackley 14 13 2 1 0 0 0 1 3 .154 .214 .231 .445
Justin Smoak 14 12 1 0 0 0 1 2 6 .083 .214 .083 .298
Michael Saunders 9 7 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 .000 .222 .000 .222
Jesus Sucre 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 136 124 26 4 0 1 10 11 32 .210 .274 .266 .540

Statistics are courtesy of Baseball Reference.

Night Court

The Mariners are of course celebrating the 80s NBC situation comedy Night Court, starring Harry Anderson as Judge Harry T. Stone and an ensemble cast that included John Larroquette as the prosecutor.

With a hat tip to Nathan Bishop over at Lookout Landing, here is the starring cast of the Mariners, set to the funky 80s stylings of Ernie Watts on saxophone:

Home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski

Mike Muchlinski was part of the new full-time hires prompted by the need for additional umpiring crews to support replay review in New York. According to Close Call Sports, Muchlinski had worked 570 MLB games as a fill-in umpire prior to his full-time assignment.

Muchlinski brings a 4.04 umpire ERA to tonight's game, favoring the hitter against the MLB ERA of 3.75.

Here's Muchlinski's strike zone in his August 31 game between RHP Ricky Nolasco and LHP Wei-Yin Chen:

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Notable notables

Highlights from the Oakland Athletics Expanded Game Notes (PDF):

  • In spite of it all, Oakland still has MLB's best record since 2012, sporting a 271-200 (.575) that is 3½ games better than the Washington Nationals (267-203 .568).
  • The A's have committed 99 errors, second most in the American League behind Cleveland at 110.
  • This day in 1953, Bob Trice becomes the first Afircan-American to appear in a major league game for the Athletics.
  • Sonny Gray actually is 4-1 with a 2.39 ERA in six career starts, and the four wins are the most against any team in his career.
  • Not in the notes, but according to Jayson Stark's "ode to the most unique baseball player who ever lived," Adam Dunn needs one more game with a walk, strikeout, and home run in the same game to pass Barry Bond and Babe Ruth to be alone in second place for most Three True Outcomes games. Dunn, Ruth, and Bonds have 125 of those. Mark McGwire holds the record with 133.
  • Hitting "streaks": Billy Burns 1 game; Josh Donaldson 1; Nate Freiman 1; Sam Fuld 1; Craig Gentry 1; Jonny Gomes 1; Brandon Moss 1; Stephen Vogt 1. Oh my.

First pitch is at 6:10 PM!