You’ll notice a different lead-off hitter today with Michael Saunders at the top of the order. Abraham Almonte drops to second and Brad Miller is now ninth. Here’s Saunders’ splits by batting order …
Who knows how long this change will last? It’s a different look and lefty heavy with only Corey Hart and Mike Zunino as the right-handed bats in the line-up.
Here’s some video of McClendon talking about it.
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There were no revelations.
“Just tinkering,” McClendon said. “Trying to get better. That’s all.”
“On a whim, I just followed my gut,” he said. “Just sat down, made out a lineup and said, `I’m going to lead Saunders off, and hit him second.’”
McClendon didn’t say the move was permanent. But if Saunders were to get three hits tonight?
“I’ve always said that manager don’t make out the line-up, players do,” McClendon said. “If he gets three knocks there’s a pretty damn good chance he’ll be back in there tomorrow.”
McClendon was asked, who made out this line-up then?
“I’m not sure,” he said chuckling. “I think it was that third scotch. I don’t know.”
While this may seem like a big deal to fans, McClendon was matter of fact in discussing it any more.
“Look, I don’t have have any magic answers,” he said. “I’m just searching. I’m just trying to spark the offense.”
Saunders said McClendon told him last night he’d be leading off today and starting in the outfield.
He has enough experience at the lead-off spot to know what he wants to do.
“My preparation is going to stay the same,” Saunders said. “I think everyone has their own opinion on it. My answer is going to stay the same. I’m just going to try and put up a professional at-bat. Depending on the situation, you usually lead off the game once, and that’s your first at-bat. We’ve seen Lewis before. I’m not going to go up there and look to take pitches. I’m going to be selectively aggressive. And that was my mindset when I was leading off last year. My main goal is to get on base.”
Other notes …
Iwakuma will throw five innings with a limit of 80 pitches on Sunday. McClendon wouldn’t confirm that Iwakuma would join the Mariners after that. But if all goes well, that’s the expectation.
Corey Hart was hit in the knee last night by a pitch from Robbie Ross Jr. But McClendon said he checked out fine. It helps that he wears knee pads on his surgically repaired knees during the game.