Meanwhile, the Mariners are half a game out of the second Wild Card spot and vying for their first trip to the postseason since 2001. They may only be in third place in the AL West at the moment, but their +98 run differential is the second best in the league and their 2.93 team ERA is the best in the majors. With the kind of pitching they have, both in their rotation and bullpen, they aren't a team anyone will be thrilled to see in the postseason – if they can get there.
Boston has beaten the Mariners the last 9 times they've played them at Fenway, but when the teams met in Seattle earlier this season, the M's took 2 out of 3.
- Joe Kelly (2-3, 4.67 ERA) will be on the mound for Boston. He was hammered by the hot-hitting Houston Astros his last time out, surrendering 7 runs in only 4 innings of work. He allowed a career high 6 walks in that game, but at least now he'll face a Mariners team that ranks only 13th in the AL in walks.
- Brock Holt is getting a rare day off to rest, with Daniel Nava taking over his lead-off spot for tonight. Nava has been one of the team's best hitters lately, batting .302 since the All-Star break. Boston doesn't have a lot of proven options to stick at the top of their order when Holt sits, but Nava's recent play warrants giving him a shot at it. Nava will be at first base tonight, with Mike Napoli still battling back spasms.
- Christian Vazquez has thrown out 7 of 16 attempted base stealers (44%) this season. That's the second best rate among catchers with at least 20 appearances behind the dish, trailing only Yadier Molina. He also has picked off a pair of runners, which is the 4th most in the AL. Not bad for a rookie that just got called up in July.
- Yoenis Cespedes is back in the lineup tonight after exiting in the 4th inning of last night's game for personal reasons. John Farrell said after the game that it was due to a family emergency, but would not elaborate.
- Felix Hernandez (13-4, 1.99 ERA) gets the start for Seattle. He's been on a ridiculous role of late, but was knocked out after only 5 innings in his last start (but still only gave up 2 runs). That snapped a streak of 16 straight games where he went at least 7 innings, while giving up 2 runs or less. King Felix is threatening to become the first qualified starter to complete a season with an ERA under 2.00 since Pedro Martinez in 2000.
- Robinson Cano ranks 2nd in the AL in batting average at .329 this season and is 10th in OPS (.865), despite hitting only 11 home runs. Everyone else in the top 10 in the AL in OPS has at least 17, but Cano remarkably has a higher OPS than half a dozen players that have hit twice as many home runs as he has. Seattle's Safeco field is known for suppressing power numbers, but Cano is proving to still be among the best hitters in the game, despite his surroundings. His 5.3 WAR is 4th in the AL and best among all second basemen.
Seeing your team play in the SuperBowl is priceless. Watching the SuperBowl live in the stands for $1 per week is beyond priceless. Find out how at TicketScore.com, the future of Championship Tickets. Tags: Baseball, Boston, Boston Red Sox, Brock Holt, Christian Vazquez, Daniel Nava, Joe Kelly, MLB, Yoenis Cespedes
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