Not long ago it appeared that when this final meeting of the 2021 season between the M's and A's rolled around it was going to be a key series for both teams. Now that it's upon us, it's less key for the A's. Seattle needs to keep winning to stay afloat in the Wild Card race, but though Oakland isn't technically out of the running—they're only a game behind the Mariners—with time running out, four teams ahead of them, and only two berths available, that one game is enough to make it nigh impossible for the A's to get back among the leaders without utter catastrophe befalling either the Blue Jays or Red Sox. But, sure, there is a chance. And they're coming off of a sweep of the division-leading Astros, desperation perhaps giving them some extra oomph. So Oakland will be playing for keeps this series, no trotting out the B team for practice.
The A's are trotting out three formidable starting pitchers this series, but the Mariners have handled them all before during 2021. First up will be Cole Irvin, who is 0-4 in four starts vs. Seattle; the left-hander has averaged just over four frames when facing the M's, making it through the 5th for the first time in his last attempt just a few days ago. Tuesday, Chris Bassitt takes the hill; he's missed a good chunk of the season with injury, but still has three starts against the M's so far (all no-decisions). His first game back from surgery was last week vs. Seattle and he was pulled after just three innings due to a tight pitch count. If Bassitt is back to anything close to full health, he'll be tough. Wednesday night will be Frankie Montas' turn; the M's have seen him twice this year, defeating him in May and handing him a no-decision in July, though they had plenty of trouble doing so—Montas racked up 21 Ks over the two games.
Of course, the Oakland bullpen remains a mixed bag; Lou Trivino and Yusmeiro Petit handle things in the late innings reasonably well, but the midgame arms are only sporadically effective. Lefty Andrew Chafin has been solid, though.
The A's will be without shortstop Elvis Andrus, who went on the injured list over the weekend, as well as fellow injurees Jed Lowrie and Mitch Moreland. Their best bats still belong to All-Star first baseman Matt Olson and recent acquisition Starling Marte; they are the only A's batting north of .270, though Mark Canha and Tony Kemp draw plenty of walks to make up for middling averages. Of late, no Oaklander has been hitting well, though Olson and Kemp have been getting aboard with walks.
The M's have been Oakland's most difficult opponent this season, as the A's have lost 12 of the 16 games the two clubs have played thus far.
|vs. AL West||36-34|
Who’s Hot & Not
Last ten games
.226/.444/.548, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 13 BB
.171/.318/.171, 9 Ks
.143/.286/.371, 16 Ks
.209/.261/.372, 10 Ks
.143/.205/.171, 8 Ks
Last 3 series vs. Seattle
|9/23/21||SEA 6, OAK 5|
|9/22/21||SEA 4, OAK 1|
|9/21/21||SEA 5, OAK 2|
|9/20/21||SEA 4, OAK 2|
|7/25/21||SEA 4, OAK 3|
|7/24/21||SEA 5, OAK 4|
|7/23/21||SEA 4, OAK 3|
|7/22/21||OAK 4, SEA 1|
|6/2/21||OAK 6, SEA 0|
|6/1/21||OAK 12, SEA 6|
Bob Melvin: Melvin has proven to be well-suited to the East Bay environs. His quieter, more laid-back approach wasn't appreciated in Seattle after we all had gotten used to the energetic antics of Lou Piniella, and despite success with the Diamondbacks, he was canned out of frustration in Phoenix, where it was suggested he was scapegoated by then-GM Josh Byrnes because of poor results by Byrnes' player acquisitions. Oakland, though, appreciates what it's got, which is a solid leader that has brought Oakland to the playoffs six times in ten years.
Mike Aldrete: The only ex-Mariners with Oakland these days are manager Bob Melvin (managed Seattle 2003-2004) and first-base coach Aldrete, who was on Melvin's staff in Seattle as first-base coach in 2004. That was his first year as a Major League coach after a decade-long career as a player in the bigs; Aldrete was an outfielder/first baseman for seven teams all told, though the majority of his action came in the Bay Area as a San Francisco Giant or Oakland Athletic.
|Oakland Athletics||(1968 - present)|
|World Champions:||1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, 1930, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1989|
|League Champions:||1905, 1914, 1931, 1990|
|Division Titles:||1971, 1975, 1981, 1992, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2013, 2020|