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Series #30: Athletics at Mariners - Concluding the First Half

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

No matter what the skill level for either team is, the A’s and Mariners always seem to make each other struggle just a little bit more. Easy wins can morph into hair-pulling losses, quick games can come to slow, grinding halts, and neither team can ever feel fully secure until the twenty seventh out is recorded. Expect more of the same this weekend.

Both teams probably would describe the season’s first half as frustrating, but for very different reasons. For the A’s, it means needing two hands to count the number of times the bullpen has blown and lost games that would have been automatic victories the season before, alongside numerous setbacks for key pitchers trying to return from injury. But all told, despite the frustration, the A’s are now eight games over .500 and just one game out of a Wild Card spot. Plus, there is hope that things will continue to get better in the season’s second half.

For the Mariners, it means going 25-51 following a historic 13-2 start to the season. Despite the silly power numbers Seattle puts up, no amount of offense has been able to save what has been an atrocious pitching staff. No team has given up more runs this season than the Mariners, with 535 total runs allowed entering this final series of the first half. Most likely, things will only get worse in the second half as any player who possesses some semblance of trade value may very well get sent away before the calendar turns to August. It gives some perspective on the A’s first half.

But despite the A’s moving on an upwards trajectory and the Mariners downwards, Seattle is still 6-4 against the A’s so far this year, including a 2-0 record at home against the A’s this year.

It is probably too early to call a series like this a must win, but the A’s haven’t really played very well against their own division this year and, to have any shot at the postseason, it is imperative to beat the teams that the A’s are most familiar with. The A’s are just 20-21 against the AL West this year, and as a direct result both the Texas Rangers and Anaheim Angels are nipping at the A’s ankles. Ideally, the A’s will be able to reverse this trend in the second half, but might as well get started a little bit early.

Possible Lineup

Mallex Smith - CF

J.P. Crawford - SS

Domingo Santana - RF

Daniel Vogelbach - 1B

Omar Narvaez - DH

Kyle Seager - 3B

Tom Murphy - C

Dylan Moore - LF

Dee Gordon - 2B

Pitching Matchups

Brett Anderson vs Yusei Kikuchi

Chris Bassitt vs Marco Gonzales

Daniel Mengden vs TBD

Game Information

Game #90: Friday, July 5th at 7:10

Game #91: Saturday, July 6th at 7:10

Game #92: Sunday, July 7th at 1:10

All games will be broadcast on NBCSCA.