A year ago, Felix Hernandez won his 10th in the teams 131st game, and Miguel Batista already had 13 wins.
Felix will look for a team-leading No. 8 today, and tomorrow Batista - 4-12 - will make his 20th start.
One theory is the Twins have interest in Batista, having seen him pitch in Minnesota last week. Perhaps a deal could be made before post-season rosters are set Sept. 1.
Another theory is that, until Brandon Morrow arrives, there's not much to choose from between Batista and knuckle ball specialist R.A. Dickey.
Meanwhile, Jack Hannahan homers off Hernandez in the first inning.
Athletics 1, Mariners 0
Give 'Em Six Good Ones ...
When the Mariners get a 'quality' start - six innings and three earned runs or less - they have a .600 winning percentage.
They've had 55 of those starts this season, an gone 33-22 in them.
Felix has 14 of those, and the team is 10-4 in them.
He's pitching well today, but through two innings the Mariners haven't yet reached base.
If you spot Seattle's offense, please call Jim Riggleman.
Athletics 1, Mariners 0 ...
Felix vs. Jack Hannahan ...
Coming into the game, Hannahan had six at-bats aginst Mr. Hernandez and three hits.
Today, in two at-bats, Hannahan has homered twice - once off the right-field foul pole.
Don't be surprised if Mr. Hannahan doesn't have to move his feet during his next at-bat. He seems entirely too comfortable in the box against Felix.
Athletics 2, Mariners 0 ...
One Hit Equals How Many Runs ...
In this case, the answer is 'two.' After a pair of walks to Kenji Johjima and Bryan LaHair, Miguel Cairo picked up Seattle's first hit today - a two-run triple.
Ichiro then singled him home.
As of July 31, Ichiro was batting .197 with runners in scoring position. In August, however, Ichiro is hitting .470 with RISP.
Mariners 3, Athletics 2 ...
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Short In The Bullpen ...
Reliever Mark Lowe is out for 3-4 days, minimum, after being hit in the left foot by a Frank Thomas line drive Saturday.
"I think I saw the ball a few feet away, but maybe not," Lowe said.
He's on crutches today with a bad bruise but not break.
That leaves the Mariners with a choice of setup men without much experience: Sean Green, Roy Corcoran and lefty Cesar Jimenez.
Felix may not want to come out of this one.
Mariners 3, Athletics 2 ...
Play Deeper ...
Oakland has four hits against Hernandez and three of them are home runs. After Rob Bowen tied the game at 3-3, the Mariners turned to the long ball.
Johjima hit his fifth of the season into the Athletics bullpen. It's one of the reasons Joh is starting again today. Jeff Clement has a bruised knee and can't catch, but rather than start Jamie Burke, the Mariners are giving Johjima the chance to hit again.
Burke will likely start Monday.
Into the sixth:
Mariners 4, Athletics 3 ...
On Pitch Counts ...
"Ligaments and veins and arteries haven't changed in the last 20 years," Jim Riggleman said before the game. "I'm not quite sure why we've gone to pitch counts."
The answer: team trainers have more input, and to save arms, they univesally believe in limiting the number of pitches thrown.
So Felix, for intance, is just over 100 pitches through six innings.
He's trying to talk his way into working the seventh, but even if he does, he'll be on a short leash.
Like it or not, baseball has gone conservative with most Major League starters.
This will make the decision easier: Jose Lopez hits a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh.
Mariners 7, Athletics 3 ...
On To The 8th ...
Corcoran on to pitch.
Raul Ibanez has slumped this home stand, going 1-for-12, but he remains one of the more clutch hitters on the team.
With two out and a man on third in the seventh inning, Ibanez singled home his 88th RBI.
He may be 2-for-13 at the moment, but he's still the man Seattle wants up when it needs a run.
Mariners 8, Athletics 4 ...
And The 9th ...
Corcoran pitching, gives up a leadoff single. Coach Mel Stottlemyre trots to the mound to chat - and give J.J. Putz a few moments more time to warm up.
Two outs later, Corcoran is still pitching and clearly wants to finish and pick up his first career save.
After 78 minor league saves, the 5-foot-10 right hander comes within one out, walks a man and is lifted for Putz.
Three pitches later, game over. Putz gets his ninth save.
Mariners 8, Athletics 4. ...