With forest fires raging in California, Oregon and throughout Washington, the air quality in the Puget Sound has remained at unhealthy levels for most of the weekend. While smoke started entering the area during midweek, a massive smoke cloud moved into the area on Friday, pushing the air quality index into levels that led to the cancellation of NWSL games as well as the closing of many restaurants.
The Mariners decided to postpone Friday’s intrasquad scrimmage at Cheney Stadium due to worsening conditions after Emerson Hancock, Erik Swanson and Brandon Brennan worked lived batting-practice situations.
The Mariners dealt with smoky air while playing in San Francisco, but avoided those issues over the weekend in Phoenix. The climate-controlled Chase Field also made sure those game would be played.
Mariners manager Scott Servais heard reports about the air quality being poor in Seattle and saw the pictures of the area, but wasn’t certain about the status of Monday’s doubleheader against the A’s
“I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow in Seattle,” he said in a pregame video call. “You guys are there. It sounds like the weather may get a little bit better. The air quality … we’ll just have to wait to see what it reads tomorrow at the ballpark.”
As of now, the doubleheader will be played with first pitch of Game 1 scheduled for 2:10 p.m. with Marco Gonzales starting for Seattle and lefty Jesus Luzardo going for Oakland.
The Air Quality Index in Seattle was measured at 231 at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. The AQI Scale measures from 0 to 500 with 0-50 being considered good and 50-100 being moderate.
Anything over 200-300 is considered very unhealthy to all individuals with recommendations to avoid strenuous outdoor activities, keep them short or rescheduling them. With the open air aspect of T-Mobile Park that is a factor and closing the roof would not provide much relief.
While the forecast of rain, which would have been very helpful to clear up the air, has disappeared, the AQI projections for Monday are in the 140s, which is considered just “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”
MLB has no AQI guidelines or threshold where a game would have to be automatically postponed.
Newsome ready to go
Ljay Newsome told Servais in very few words that his right wrist is fine and he’ll be ready to make his scheduled start on Tuesday against the Giants at T-Mobile Park.
“Ljay is fine,” Servais said. “Nothing holding him back. He made a comment the other day that he doesn’t even feel it anymore.”
Newsome took a line drive off his wrist in the second inning of Tuesday’s loss to the Giants, forcing him out of the game. After taking a few days off to get the swelling out, Newsome returned to throwing Friday.
The conversation between Newsome and Servais was brief as are all conversations with the rookie right-hander.
“Yes, as he always is, a man of few words,” Servais said. “ ‘I’m fine, skip,’ and then he walked away. That’s what you get. I’m getting my information mostly from the pitching coaches who were watching him throw. Love Ljay — his personality and his demeanor, it never changes. It’s the same every day.”
Kyle Lewis was out of the starting lineup for the first time since Aug. 6 and just the second time this season. Lewis had started Seattle’s last 31 games.
“Giving him a day off,” Servais said. “He’s fine physically.”
But Lewis’ offensive production has slowed in the past two weeks. Over his past 13 games, Lewis has a .130/.245/.261 slash line* with just six hits in 46 at-bats, two homers, three RBI, seven walks and 17 strikeouts.
Lewis entered the game in the eighth inning as a pinch runner and later added a sac fly to push his RBI total to 24 on the season.
* batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage
Editor’s note: The Times declined to send reporter Ryan Divish to Phoenix for this game because of COVID-19 safety concerns.