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May 14, 2013 at 3:18 PM

Mariners manager Eric Wedge explains why he’s starting Raul Ibanez against left-hander

Raul Ibanez and the Mariners warm up on the field at Yankee Stadium this afternoon ahead of tonight's series opener.

Raul Ibanez and the Mariners warm up on the field at Yankee Stadium this afternoon ahead of tonight’s series opener.

Hard not to notice Raul Ibanez in the lineup tonight against tough southpaw C.C. Sabathia. Ibanez has not performed well against left-handers either this year or in the recent past.

We asked manager Eric Wedge about that decision pre-game.

“He’s faced him a lot,” Wedge said of Ibanez. “I know a lot of the history goes back a ways, but that’s OK. And the history he has in this ballpark, too. I think you have to take that into consideration as well.”

Ibanez is 12-for-42 (.286) lifetime off Sabathia with two homers, two doubles, a triple (!) and an OPS of .872.

Not too shabby. The question is whether he can still replicate his hitting prowess of the past. We know that Sabathia can still deal the way he used to several years back.

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The Mariners aren’t playing Justin Smoak tonight, going instead with Kendrys Morales at first base so that he can get in the game with Ibanez being used at DH. Wedge is also going with the light-hitting Brendan Ryan and Robert Andino in the same lineup, hoping their track records against Sabathia pay off.

Andino is 8-for-23 (.348) with a homer, a double and an OPS of .897 off Sabathia.

Ryan is 4-for-10 (.400) with an OPS of 1.038.

Morales is 3-for-9 (.333) with an OPS of .777.

So, we’ll see how it all works out.

“It’s just the knowledge base,” Wedge said. “There is specific history there that they can pull from. Now, that goes both ways. But you trust your people and just certain matchups just work better. That type of pitcher versus that type of hitter. His stuff versus that type of hitter. That’s just the way it works. So, you just try to put your best lineup out there.”

Comments | More in lineups | Topics: raul ibanez; kendrys morales; robert andino; c.c. sabathia


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