The finale of this three-game series with the Angels pits Hisashi Iwakuma against RHP Dan Haren, and marks the return of outfielder Michael Saunders to the lineup.
Saunders missed two days to be with wife Jessica at the birth of their first child, daughter Aria, but he’s part of a strong defensive allignment in the outfield, joining CF Franklin Gutierrez and RF Casper Wells.
Jesus Montero is catching, John Jaso is the DH and hot-hitting Justin Smoak – who has three home runs in his last two games – is batting sixth.
A few pre-game notes:
- Iwakuma has the highest ground ball percentage in the Mariners starting rotation, getting 62.5 per cent grounders. Felix Hernandez is second, aat 61.5 per cent.
- Add Felix: Manager Eric Wedge said he was well aware that Hernandez had thrown 103 pitches through six inniings Wednesday, but took his ace’s 226-plus ininngs this year into consideration when he pulled him. “We did the right thing for the right reason,” Wedge said.
- Smoak enters the game batting .355 in September, with four doubles, five home runs and nine RBI in 19 games. In his last 11 games, Smoak has hit .450.
- The rotation for the three games in Oakland that begin tomorrow night: Blake Beavan, Jason Vargas and Erasmo Ramirez.
And now, here’s today’s lineup: