Mariners: Previewing the Rest of the 4-Game Set with the Athletics
By Connor Tweet
The Seattle Mariners are coming off of a well-timed victory over the Oakland Athletics on Monday night, a 4-2 triumph that moved the Mariners up to only three games back of the second American League Wild Card spot. The win occurred in classic 2021 Mariners style: RBIs from Ty France and Kyle Seager to put the team up early, a strong seven innings from starter Tyler Anderson, and a lockdown performance from star closer Paul Sewald to seal it.
Seager was the offensive MVP of the game, driving in three runs on three base hits and bumping up his season RBI total to 99, tying his career high. On the defensive side, Anderson’s seven-inning, one-run outing was his most dominant performance yet in a Mariners uniform.
The Mariners have three more games this week against the Athletics, all of which having a major impact on the Mariners’ postseason hopes.
Tonight, Marco Gonzales takes the hill for the Mariners, and enters the matchup as one of the hottest pitchers in the American League. Gonzales hasn’t lost a decision since July 3rd, and has earned the win in 7 out of 12 starts during that timespan. His success has clearly been associated with his ability to locate his fastball on the high and inside corners of the plate, and rarely missing in the middle of the strike zone.
On Wednesday, Chris Flexen takes the rubber, riding a similar hot streak. He is 3-1 with a 3.32 ERA dating back to August 2nd, and coming off of a stellar six-inning, one-run performance to top the Kansas City Royals last week. Don’t expect many strikeouts from Flexen on Wednesday night against the offensive-oriented A’s lineup, but his pitch-to-contact approach could induce a few double plays to help him out of some tough spots.
Finally, on Thursday afternoon, Yusei Kikuchi will look to bounce back after going 0-3 with a 5.88 ERA in eight starts since August 8th. Kikuchi has been one of the more frustrating Mariners pitchers to watch this season, as he has seemingly been either an ace on the mound or an absolute dud. Eight hits allowed in his last start against the Royals was his downfall, but walks are typically his Kryptonite; look for Kikuchi to sell out in pounding the strike zone in the series finale.