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March 26, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Rangers 5, Mariners 3 … McClendon names Erasmo Ramirez No. 2 starter

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BOX SCORE 03.26.14 Box Score

Lloyd McClendon didn’t quite find the “clarity” he was looking for since we first talked to him this morning. The hope was that he’d be able to name his starting rotation and perhaps the starting shortstop (Brad Miller) and other things.

But he said that didn’t happen.

With a little prodding, he did say that Erasmo Ramirez would be the No. 2 starter behind Felix Hernandez. Ramirez will start Tuesday night in Anaheim.

“I thought I was going to have clarity, but I don’t,” McClendon said. “He’s done for the spring. But he’ll be my No. 2 starter.”

Does he have a No. 3 starter?

“I do,” McClendon said with a long pause. “I will let you know when I can. I have a No. 4 and a No. 5 too.”

Obviously, Ramirez is not a typical No. 2 starter. McClendon made that very clear the other day. He’s probably a No. 4 or No. 5. But this is what the Mariners have right now with Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker hurt. My guess is McClendon will make James Paxton the No. 3 starter and then Blake Beavan/Hector Noesi/Whoever they sign as the No. 4 and put Roenis Elias as the No. 5 to split up the lefties. But some manager don’t believe in that either.

I need some clarity myself.

Ramirez pitched five innings, giving up one run on three hits with no walks and six strikeouts.

“He made better pitches today,” McClendon said. “I thought he threw extremely well. I was pleased.”

Ramirez was much better with 0-2 and 1-2 counts. It was something that he didn’t do in his last start. McClendon let him know that was unacceptable. Ramirez understood and made an adjustment to his thinking.

“Today everything was working,” he said. “I missed a couple strikes in the strike zone. But most of the time I executed the pitch, and I got a ground ball, fly ball and a strikeout. That’s what I’m looking for. Be more consistent and if I get ahead, finish them off.”

The Mariners offense was led by Justin Smoak, who hit a two-run homer to right field in the sixth inning. Dustin Ackley also singled home a run. It was all the offense the Mariners would muster.

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