It's been a long season for the Los Angeles Angels in the American League West, where they figured to contend for a title and instead find themselves in third place today.
Worse, the fourth place team - the Seattle Mariners - can knock the Angels out of the post-season wild card race by winning tonight, and they'll be led by starting pitcher Felix Hernandez.
No, Felix doesn't have a record of success vs. the Angels. He's 0-2 with a 5.13 earned run average this season and 6-11 with a 3.86 in 29 career starts. Still, he's not just the best Seattle has, he's one of the best in the game.
Tonight, the Mariners will face left-hander C.J. Wilson, and Franklin Gutierrez (groin strain) is unavailable. That means Dustin Ackley is back at 2B, Michael Saunders is in CF and Trayvon Robinson in LF.
It's a pointed reminder that, as Eric Wedge said yesterday, Gutierrez must prove to the team he can stay healthy - and for the second year in a row, he's failed to do so.
Here's the Mariners lineup:
Dustin Ackley 2BCasper Wells RFKyle Seager 3BJesus Montero DHJustin Smoak 1BMichael Saunders CFMiguel Olivo CTrayvon Robinson LFBrendan Ryan SSFelix Hernandez RHP