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Game Thread #139: Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners

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After an intensely frustrating, so-close-you-could-taste what was certainly always going to be a mirage, the A's, who won the first game of the series before doing absolutely everything wrong in their loss last night, coming just close enough to drag out an agonizing tease, will send Jon Lester to the mound in search of the series win. The only problem? He's facing off against Felix Hernandez, the A's kryptonite.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning and welcome to your Oakland Athletics 2014 baseball! I thought I was numb to this season after the awfulness of August, but it would appear that I'm not. I haven't conjured up that much fire for a game since Game 4 last year. I have also realized my A's trigger: Anything that looks like a bad mental decision from a single player sends me into a white-hot rage. Not sliding, Jeremy? Not tagging home, Byrnes? Forgetting to run, Tejada? Those are the plays that haunt in the small sample size of a single game, and with every game so vitally important right now, everything is magnified.

Am I really mad at Josh Donaldson? No, Donaldson has been our most consistent player this season, and was alive in August when literally the entire team was sleepwalking through the games. Am I mad at Josh Reddick not coming through to tie the game last night? No, at least he made contact, right? Am I mad at Sonny Gray for, well, not being an ace? No, he's young and tired, and putting it all out there; it's just not enough right now. Am I mad at the "lefty lineup"? No, it's not their fault they collectively aren't very good at hitting a baseball. I'm just angry because I see Game 5 being played out night after night in a Groundhog Day nightmare and there isn't anything we can do about it. Play the best players, try to eliminate the mental mistakes that will cost us close, important games, and hope for the best. It's the road we're on right now, and a series win, especially against a pitcher that has historically owned us, would go a long way. Also, another super night from Houston would not be unappreciated. But we have to take care of business here first.

The A's best shot at a win is Jon Lester, and he'll be on the mound in today's match-up, facing off against Felix Hernandez. It's not a pretty picture:

Hernandez is 18-7 with a 2.63 ERA in 33 career starts against the A's, including a 9-2, 2.72 mark in 17 outings at O.co Coliseum. The Mariners ace is also 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA in four games this year against Oakland.

Despite his success against Hernandez, Alberto Callaspo will be sitting this one out, which can only help our blood pressures and newly-discovered drinking problems. Sam Fuld will start us off, the hot-hitting-before-last-night Josh Reddick has moved up in the lineup, and Donaldson, Dunn, Moss, Vogt, and Norris will bring the power. Sure-handed Eric Sogard will be in for defense. I think this is the best they can do with what they have to work with, and they better take a different approach against the Mariners' ace.

Here are your full lineups:

Today's Lineups

SEATTLE MARINERS OAKLAND A'S
Austin Jackson - CF Sam Fuld - CF
Chris Denorfia - LF Josh Reddick - RF
Robinson Cano - 2B Josh Donaldson - 3B
Kendrys Morales - 1B Adam Dunn - DH
Kyle Seager - 3B Brandon Moss - LF
Corey Hart - DH Jed Lowrie - SS
Mike Zunino - C Stephen Vogt - 1B
Stefen Romero - RF Derek Norris - C
Chris Taylor - SS Eric Sogard - 2B

All together now: LET'S GO OAK-LAND!