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Air quality shifts SF-SEA series to Bay Area

@gregjohnsmlb
September 15, 2020

SEATTLE -- Tuesday's and Wednesday's games between the Mariners and Giants were pushed back a day and moved to San Francisco due to the poor air quality in Seattle. “Unfortunately, the air quality in Seattle has gotten worse overnight here at T-Mobile Park, and it is not clearing at all

SEATTLE -- Tuesday's and Wednesday's games between the Mariners and Giants were pushed back a day and moved to San Francisco due to the poor air quality in Seattle.

“Unfortunately, the air quality in Seattle has gotten worse overnight here at T-Mobile Park, and it is not clearing at all today,” said Mariners president Kevin Mather. “Forecasters expect it to clear late Thursday and into Friday morning. As always, the health and safety of the players and our staff is our first priority. To assure the games could be played, the best solution was to relocate to the Bay Area. 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.”

With T-Mobile Park impacted by heavy smoke from the numerous wildfires on the West Coast, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday afternoon that the two-game series originally set for Tuesday and Wednesday in Seattle will now be played instead on Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. PT and on Thursday at 1:10 p.m. at Oracle Park in San Francisco, though the Mariners will be considered the home team in both games.

Both clubs originally had off-days on Thursday. The Mariners are currently planning to fly to San Francisco on Wednesday morning, play the two games and then return to Seattle for the final six games of their homestand, starting Friday night against the Padres.

The Giants had already flown to Seattle, but they will return home Tuesday night and then stay in the Bay Area to close out their final road trip with a three-game series in Oakland starting Friday.

The Mariners will push their starting pitchers back a day, with rookie right-hander Ljay Newsome starting Wednesday’s game and lefty Nick Margevicius slated for Thursday. The Giants will flip-flop their starters, with left-hander Drew Smyly remaining on his Wednesday turn and fellow southpaw Tyler Anderson pushed back to Thursday.

The Mariners and A’s played a doubleheader on Monday at T-Mobile Park, despite smoky conditions in what was a makeup of two games previously postponed by a positive COVID-19 test by an A’s player that wiped out a Sept. 1-3 series in Seattle.

Giants manager Gabe Kapler said the conditions in that contest were a factor in the decision to move the games after discussions between the two teams, as well as MLB and the MLB Players Association.

“This is certainly a joint decision that was in the best interest of the players,” Kapler said. “Everybody was reading the reports on the air quality. We all wanted to be safe, and players were definitely expressing some concerns.”

The Mariners are 1 1/2 games back of the Astros in the race for the American League West’s No. 2 playoff spot and have 12 games remaining, including another doubleheader in Oakland on Sept. 26 that will make up the final postponed game from the earlier series.

The Giants have 13 games remaining as they battle for a National League Wild Card berth and will now have no off-days remaining on their schedule.

T-Mobile Park has a retractable roof, but the roof is a carport-style covering that doesn’t close on the sides of the stadium. Monday’s doubleheader was played with the roof closed, but the smoke still lingered over the field.

Smoke coming from both the Oregon and eastern Washington wildfires has settled in over the Seattle area, and though the situation was slightly improved on Tuesday after some light rain Monday night, the air quality isn’t expected to improve dramatically for at least several more days.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.