Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Giants-Mariners games postponed, moved due to smoky skies

3 Comments

EATTLE — The two-game series between the San Francisco Giants and Mariners in Seattle that was scheduled to start Tuesday night was postponed because of poor air quality caused by the West Coast wildfires.

While the air quality seemed to be improving somewhat Tuesday afternoon, Giants manager Gabe Kapler said both teams, Major League Baseball and the players’ union were all in agreement about the decision.

He said players had some reservations about plans to play.

“I think there was some concern, yeah, for sure,” Kapler said. “Everybody was reading the reports on the air quality and we all wanted to be safe.”

The teams will now play at 9:40 p.m. ET Wednesday and 4:10 p.m. ET Thursday at Oracle Park in San Francisco.

The announcement came as forecasters called for smoke to reach very unhealthy levels in Western Washington through at least Thursday.

Both teams had a scheduled day off Thursday that allowed them to avoid playing a doubleheader on Wednesday.

Some players complained about smoky conditions Monday night after the Mariners split a doubleheader with the Oakland Athletics. The smoke level during the games reached a level of very unhealthy on the air quality index, even with the roof closed at T-Mobile Park.

Seattle manager Scott Servais said he thought “visibility and playability” were fine Monday night after the games and that Major League Baseball officials were comfortable with allowing the makeup doubleheader to proceed. But the smoke got worse throughout the evening, seeming to increase when rain moved into the area.

A’s manager Bob Melvin said several players began to complain as the night wore on.

“I’m a healthy 22-year-old. I shouldn’t be gasping for air or missing oxygen. I’ll leave it at that,” said Jesus Luzardo, who started the opener for Oakland.

The area has had unhealthy air quality for about a week after weather patterns have brought smoke from wildfires east of Seattle in Washington, Oregon and California. There also are fires burning near San Francisco – the air quality is expected to reach unhealthy levels there Wednesday as well – but the air quality is better overall.

A Mariners official said smoke is expected to start clearing late Thursday or Friday when they return home for a three-game series with the San Diego Padres, followed by their final three home games with the Houston Astros next Monday through Wednesday.

“We appreciate the Giants willingness to work with us on this challenge, and we look forward to returning to T-Mobile Park on Friday to host the Padres,” Mariners President Kevin Mather said.

The decision could have playoff implications as the Mariners lose two of their remaining eight home games. The Giants are currently sitting in the second NL wild-card position, while the Mariners are 1 1/2 games behind the Astros for second place in the AL West and 4 1/2 games back for the AL wild card.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Leave a comment

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”