March 24, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Game thread: Mariners roll out a regular-season-looking lineup versus left-hander
Those of you wondering what an extreme righty-stacked Mariners lineup might look like versus a tough left-hander are going to get a look this afternoon.
Last June, the Mariners took on southpaw starter Wade Miley and the Diamondbacks in Arizona and scored just one run off him in seven innings while striking out eight times. This afternoon, they see Miley again and have their righty-laced batting order to throw out against him.
Leading off will be Franklin Gutierrez, who, if you read yesterday’s post, is going to be getting a shot at that role along with Michael Saunders. If the Mariners do a strict leadoff plattoon thing — something that has yet to be ruled out — then Gutierrez would face lefties and Saunders the righties.
Jason Bay is your right-handed hitting left fielder today, while Michael Morse is in right and Saunders sits. Morse is the clean-up guy, so you don’t sit him. But Saunders has been vulnerable to lefties in the past and there are times you might. In any event, you’ll rarely see both Saunders and Morse sitting out the same night.
Since this is a National League rules game today, there is no DH. But with AL rules, switch-hitter Justin Smoak would be in there, either at first base or DH. Having watched this spring, I’m thinking Kendrys Morales is the better defensive first baseman between the pair so I won’t always assume Smoak will man that position. But in an AL game, with a left-hander out there, you’ll almost always see both in a lineup at first base and DH.
You’ve got the right-handed hitting catcher in there in Kelly Shoppach while Jesus Montero sits.
And of course, here is where you see more of the added value Robert Andino brings to the squad. I can’t say enough about this guy and how much of an improvement he is over what the Mariners have run out at the utility infield spots in recent years. His defensive ability at all the infield spots is superb and his right-handed bat is a nice compliment to left-handed Dustin Ackley and Kyle Seager.
So, Seager sits today and Andino is in at third, which could very well happen in the regular season if a tough lefty is on the hill and one of Seattle’s infielders is not exactly red hot.
Plenty of versatility on this roster and you’re seeing some of it today.