Mariners vs Athletics Series Preview: Huge Implications in AL West

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 24: Jarred Kelenic #10 of the Seattle Mariners hits a home run against the Oakland Athletics. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 24: Jarred Kelenic #10 of the Seattle Mariners hits a home run against the Oakland Athletics. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) /

As the Mariners head back home for a seven-game series, they will be playing all of those games against divisional foes. They start off with four of them against the Oakland Athletics.

Oakland had the day off, so the Mariners sit just 3.5 games behind them for the second, and final, wild card spot in the American League. Tampa Bay is 2.5 ahead of Oakland for the #1 Wild Card spot after defeating Baltimore Wednesday Night. Then, there is the AL West leading Houston Astros, who lost to Cleveland tonight and are now 3.0 up on Oakland and 6.5 up on Seattle.

The Mariners will have four games against Oakland, and they could be incredibly important.

Luckily, the Mariners won’t have to worry about any of those awful bullpen games in the four-game set. Nothing against Keynan Middleton and the rest of the pen, I just really don’t like openers. I think they mess with your flow and are hard for the rest of the team to adjust to.

Mariners vs Athletics: The Pitching Matchups

  • Thursday, July 22nd @ 7:10 – Sean Manaea vs Chris Flexen
  • Friday, July 23rd @ 7:10 – Frankie Montas vs Yusei Kikuchi
  • Saturday, July 24th @ 7:10 – Chris Bassitt vs Logan Gilbert
  • Sunday, July 25th @ 1:10 – Cole Irvin (Boo) vs Marco Gonzales

Yeah, I still don’t like Cole Irvin, and I hope he gets shelled again. Really hoping for Kelenic to hit a shot off of him. Anyway, back to the pitching matchups. Chris Flexen has been one of the best home pitchers in all of baseball, and he will be going up against Manaea. Manaea has been fantastic his last eight starts, sporting a 2.57 ERA. That streak actually started with his best game of the season… against the Mariners.

Kikuchi will look to get back on track after a few less than stellar outings. He will be followed up by the most exciting of the Mariners pitchers, Logan Gilbert. Then, it’s the punk Irvin vs Marco on Sunday afternoon.

Mariners vs Athletics: Players to watch

There are a couple of players that I want to highlight on each team, ones that we should all keep an eye on. I’ll start with the MVP of the Athletics this season, Matt Olson. He’s been playing great for a while now, and July has been no different. A .308/.429/.692 slash line, with five home runs, 10 walks, and just nine strikeouts. Limiting Olson will be key in the series. On the mound, watch for Frankie Montas, whose 20 K’s in 18.1 innings goes well with his 2.45 ERA.

For the Mariners, we know that France, Haniger, and Torrens have been playing well in July. It’s going to be up to guys like Seager (.216), Moore (.157), and Crawford (.210) to pick up the slack. On the mound, it’ll be fun to see if Flexen continues dominating at home and if Gilbert can keep up his own hot streak.

Mariners vs Athletics: Final Thoughts

It’s going to be a tough series. A scary series. No matter what, there is going to be at least one unhappy fan base. Even if the teams come out with a 2-2 split, you’re likely to hear grumblings about neither team being able to affect their playoff odds by beating the other.

With a four-game set, things always seem more important. You can deal with losing a series 1-2. Losing it 1-3, against a divisional foe, feels awful. As the Athletics come to town to play the Mariners, Seattle will be facing their first true test of the second half.