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Series #53: Athletics at Mariners - Every Game Counts

MLB: Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

This season began in March, in Japan, against these very Mariners. The special series saw the A’s drop both of those games to the Mariners and Matt Olson go down with an injury, as the season got off to a less than ideal start. The A’s would spend quite a lot of time hanging around .500. Meanwhile, the Mariners got off to one of the fastest starts in MLB history, winning 13 of their first 15 games.

Now, the A’s have 95 wins with four games to play after winning a total of 97 last season. The Mariners are 66-92 and guaranteed a last place finish in the division. The Mariners are, in a small way, somewhat responsible for the Astros’ MLB best record and nine game lead over the A’s in the division, as Seattle went a paltry and pathetic 1-18 against Houston in 2019.

Unless a person enjoys watching lots of home runs and not much of anything else, this was a very frustrating season for the Mariners. The team certainly hit a lot of long balls, but the pitching staff managed to give up even more. Despite a strong offensive output in the season’s first half, prior to the midseason sell-off, the Mariners’ pitching staff and defense was so atrocious that the team struggled to outslug most teams.

The Mariners got most of their offensive production out of their catcher position. Omar Narvaez and Tom Murphy got the bulk of playing time behind home plate this year, and between the two of them, they’ve logged 40 home runs and 95 RsBI this season. Young hitters Shed Long and first round pick graduate Kyle Lewis have each had strong Septembers and may very well be cornerstones that the team starts to rebuild around. Lewis in particular has been very strong in a small sample of 14 games, OPSing .977 and hitting six home runs, though his 22-3 K-BB ratio is something to keep an eye on.

On the beleaguered pitching staff, Marco Gonzales pitched the type of season one would expect from him, about 200 innings pitched and about a 4.00 ERA. Unfortunately, beyond Gonzales, the drop off is sharp and steep. No other regular starter on the team has an ERA below 5.00, save for Tommy Milone who has been getting more action late in the season, and he’s finishing the season with a 4-10 record and 4.76 ERA, and is still plagued by the long ball. No one stood out in a good way in the bullpen. Their free agent signings and young callups all floundered to various degrees. King Felix, once the bane of the A’s existence, has a 6.51 ERA in 14 starts this year.

Outside of the first half of April, this season was largely devoid of joy for the Mariners. Which is to say, it was a fairly prototypical season for the Mariners. Jerry Dipoto is sure to tinker with the team throughout the offseason, making many moves big and small, and the Seattle Squad Oakland will play next year is likely to look very different from this team. But with the focus still on 2019, it is imperative for the A’s to do their best to sweep away the remainder of the Mariners’ season. With the Rays and Indians breathing down Oakland’s neck, every game counts, and these are the types of games that other great teams, like the Astros, practically never lose. For the A’s to have a chance to prove they can beat the Astros in October, they need to prove they can finish the season like the Astros, too.

Potential Lineup

Shed Long - 2B

J.P. Crawford - SS

Kyle Lewis - RF

Kyle Seager - 3B

Austin Nola - 1B

Omar Narvaez - C

Domingo Santana - DH

Dylan Moore - LF

Mallex Smith - CF

Pitching Matchups

Sean Manaea vs Felix Hernandez

Mike Fiers vs Justus Sheffield

Brett Anderson vs Marco Gonzales

Tanner Roark vs Justin Dunn

Game Information

Game #159: Thursday, September 26th at 7:10

Game #160: Friday, September 27th at 7:10

Game #161: Saturday, September 28th at 6:10

Game #162: Sunday, September 29th at 12:10

Game #159 will be broadcast on MLB Network for those out of market. All games will be broadcast on NBCSCA.