Unlike yesterday, it’s an absolutely gorgeous day in Denver as the Mariners try to complete a sweep of the Rockies. That would give them a 4-6 record on the 11-day, 10-game, four-city, two-league road trip, not great but a lot better than they were headed. They’re facing Jeremy Guthrie, making his second start since coming off the disabled list for a right shoulder sprain.
Here is the lineup the Mariners will send out:
Dustin Ackley 2B
Michael Saunders CF
Kyle Seager 3B
Jesus Montero C
Justin Smoak 1B
Mike Carp LF
Brendan Ryan SS
Blake Beavan P
Not too much going on this morning. Miguel Olivo, as mentioned yesterday, will fly to Iowa today and begin his rehab assignment tomorrow with Tacoma. The Mariners open a seven-game homestand tomorrow with a potentially great pitching matchup, Felix Hernandez against Yu Darvish.
“It should be fun,” manager Eric Wedge said. “It’s going to be great to get back home, first and foremost. These kids have been on the road so much. To get back home with their families and ultimately back in front of their fans, and have Felix pitching the first day, we’re looking forward to it.”
Hernandez is coming off a rough start in Cleveland in which he last just 3 2/3 innings and gave up 10 hits and eight runs. Wedge was reluctant to talk about Darvish, who brings a 6-1 record and 2.60 ERA into the game.
“His stuff is real. We just have to make him work,” he said. “One thing have to continue to do a better job of offensively is focus more on our strength and what we’re going to do than what others are trying to do to us. They have to have confidence and trust in what they need to do to be successful, rather than fighting against the other. Make them worry about us versus the other way around. At some point in time, that will be the norm here.”
I talked to Brendan Ryan about what it was like to hit ninth in the St. Louis order, behind the pitcher, a strategy favored by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. Ryan had 713 plate appearances in the nine hole with St. Louis and hit .259.
“I definitely liked it,” he said. “I probably preferred it. Sometimes hitting in the eight hole you get pitched to like you’re Babe Ruth. Not everything makes perfect sense in that spot.”
But it still gave him a jolt the first time he saw himself hitting behind the pitcher.
“I was like, whooo, it’s going that bad, huh? I can remember playing against the Braves, and McCann having a couple jokes for me. Depending on the catcher and the sense of humor they had, they usually had a couple of quick ones for me. Really, it worked as much as it didn’t. It might have worked a little more than it didn’t. I had no problem with it. I put my ego aside and I enjoyed the pitcher hitting in front of me.”