For the beginning of the end [of the first half] the A’s will send Paul Blackburn to the mound. He was stellar in his Major League debut last week, going six innings and allowing zero earned runs (one unearned). During those five innings, he allowed only five baserunners on three hits, and a whole lot of weak contact. He certainly didn’t show his jitters if he had any. Blackburn has got his work cut out for him today in proving his initial success wasn’t founded on pure adrenaline.

The rookie Sam Gaviglio will start for the Mariners. He’s sporting a 3.48 ERA through nine starts, and has gone at least five innings in every start. Impressive, but if Franklin Barreto can already own Big Game James, I have high hopes for what he can do to Gaviglio.

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The Mariners are coming off of two losses and are neck-and-neck with the Rangers and Angels. While they’ve got all the pressure on to try to break away from the pack before the end of the half, our youngsters have nothing to lose. Make of that what you will.

Here are the lineups:

First pitch is at 7:10!

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