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Mariners blog

Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

April 10, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Lineup time!

mariners0410 002.jpg
ADDITIONAL NOTE: I’ve been telling you that the start time for our Geoff Baker Live! show at The Showbox SoDo next Tuesday was to begin at 1 p.m. It actually begins at 1:30 p.m., so don’t come any earlier or we’ll make you sweep the floors. Everything runs until 3:10 p.m. so you’ll have plenty of time to head off up the street to Safeco Field for the game.
A look at the Oakland Coliseum as it prepares for tonight’s home opener for the Athletics.
Here is tonight’s starting lineup for the Mariners:
LF Endy Chavez
CF Franklin Gutierrez
DH Mike Sweeney
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Ken Griffey Jr.
2B Jose Lopez
1B Russell Branyan
C Kenji Johjima
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith
And for the A’s:
CF Ryan Sweeney
SS Orlando Cabrera
DH Jason Giambi
LF Matt Holliday
3B Eric Chavez
1B Nomar Garciaparra
RF Jack Cust
C Kurt Suzuki
2B Mark Ellis
LHP Brett Anderson
Some interesting notes for you as well. The Mariners, as some of you noted on this afternoon’s broadcast, have yet to make an error in 144 total chances so far. It’s just the second time in franchise history the team has opened without an error in its first four games, the last time being in 2006. The team has never played five straight errorless games to start the season.
I spoke to Jose Lopez earlier today about the rapidly improving double-play combination he and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt have become. Betancourt made a tough double-play look easy yesterday when he ranged to his right, then threw off-balance, across his body to Lopez at second.
“You have to have good communication and good concentration out there,” Lopez said. “I know from looking at his arm where the throw is going to go.”
Lopez likes the ball to be “a little behind” his glove when there’s a runner coming in to second so he can pivot and throw to first all in the same motion.
“The guy’s trying to hurt you, trying to kill you,” he said of the lead runner. “I try to catch it and get off the base quickly.”
He and Betancourt will turn a set of 10 to 15 double-plays daily during batting practice for each of the 6-4-3 and 4-6-3 combinations. They have gotten to know each other’s timing and habits over the years to the point where they are now executing rather-seamlessly, as we’ve seen from the errorless ball thus far.
And now that I’ve mentioned it, I fully expect a fielding flub in the very first inning by somebody, quite possibly on a double-play ball. That’s how this usually works.
Speaking of defense, I’m told by the Mariners that when Ronny Cedeno started in left field on Wednesday, with Endy Chavez in right and Franklin Gutierrez in center, it was the first time in major league history that a team had started an all-Venezuelan outfield. The last outfield that started a game with three players from the same non-U.S. country was when the Angels had Raul Mondesi, Jose Guillen and Vladimir Guerrero (all from the Dominican Republic) out there on June 8, 2004.

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