Despite being in different leagues, there has long been a familiarity between the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners, who continue a three-game series in San Diego on Saturday.
The series was scheduled to be played in Seattle but was moved to Petco Park because of unhealthy air quality due towildfires in the Pacific Northwest. The Mariners will bat last as the home team.
The Padres and Mariners have shared a spring training complex in Peoria, Ariz., since 1994. Also, because there are two West Division teams in the Los Angeles area and two in the Bay Area, the Padres and Mariners have become set up as rivals in interleague play.
Furthermore, thanks to a pair of deals before this season's Aug. 31 trade deadline, there are several players who have been with both teams this season alone.
The Mariners sent catcher Austin Nola and relievers Austin Adams and Dan Altavilla to San Diego on Aug. 30 for a package of infielder Ty France, catcher Luis Torrens, outfield prospect Taylor Trammell and young reliever Andres Munoz.
The teams made another deal Aug. 31, with reliever Taylor Williams going to San Diego for a player to be named, which turned out to be right-hander Matt Brash.
"We certainly gave up a lot of good players," said Mariners manager Scott Servais, whose team has lost four consecutive games to drop to 22-29. "But having had the opportunity here the last few weeks to be around a couple of the guys we got back -- and I'm not even talking about Trammell and Munoz and what they can bring for our future -- but I'm really excited about what (France and Torrens) have brought."
In 13 games since his arrival, France has batted .304 with two home runs and six RBIs. Torrens, getting his first chance to be an everyday catcher, has batted .265 with one homer and three RBIs in 11 games.
The Padres (33-19), on the verge of a National League playoff berth, have also benefited.
Nola has been the Padres' starting catcher, and he batted third Friday in San Diego's 6-1 victory in the series opener. He snapped an 0-for-12 slump with a ninth-inning single.
Nola caught four shutouts in his first nine games with San Diego and might have had another Friday if not for Evan White's solo homer in the eighth inning.
Altavilla has pitched four games in relief for San Diego, producing a 2.45 ERA on four hits and one run, four strikeouts and one walk in 3 2/3 innings.
Adams is still recovering from knee surgery, and Williams made one appearance for the Padres before being sent to their alternate training site.
"We set a goal (to make the playoffs) during the COVID summer camp, and we're about to reach that goal and we're still not done with that," said Manny Machado, who homered twice Friday.
"Our mindset in here is we're going to keep grinding and we're going to keep playing baseball until we reach that goal. It's going to be fun to finally clinch a postseason spot, which hasn't been done for a very long time in the organization. Our mindset is still further on down the road. It's a moment."
San Diego hasn't appeared in the playoffs since 2006.
Left-hander Justus Sheffield (3-4, 4.06 ERA) is scheduled to start Saturday for the Mariners. It will be his first time facing the Padres.
San Diego is set to go with right-hander Mike Clevinger (3-2, 3.10 ERA), acquired from Cleveland in another blockbuster trade at the deadline. Clevinger has no wins or losses and a 6.00 ERA in one career start against the Mariners.
--Field Level Media