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May 13, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Tuesday’s pregame notes and line-ups vs. the Rays

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Updated 5:47 

Waiting to talk to Jack Z about Franklin and a few other things. But figured I’d update with some quotes from McClendon’s pregame meeting.

Michael Saunders took batting practice and is available to pinch hit if needed. But manager Lloyd McClendon admitted he’d prefer to not use him in this series and allow his hyperextended knee to rest would be ideal.

McClendon on Ackley:

“I’ve never viewed him as a No. 1 or No. 2 type of guy (in the order),” McClendon said. “I just never did. On the other side, looking at this club, I always felt he was a guy that had some pop in the bats and drive in some runs. I never viewed him as a top of the order hitter. that’s not to say my opinion is right or wrong. It’s just what I saw and I what I believed.”

McClendon on Jones’ base running mistakes.

“I talked to him last night about it,” he said. “And what’s interesting is he knew, he had all the answers when I asked him about it. He answered correctly. In the heat of the game, your adrenaline gets pumping and you’ve never situations before and it kind gets you a little bit. I don’t think he’ll make those mistakes again. He’s a very intelligent kid. He adapts fairly quickly. He made a mistake, adapt and move on.”

McClendon was out early doing some very specific teaching to Brad Miller. One of the lessons had third base coach Rich Donnelly holding a small square towel about three feet in front of the plate. McClendon was doing a lot of talking and simulating the path of the baseball to the plate.

What’s it supposed to do?

“Hopefully make me hit better,” Miller deadpanned.

Miller said it was visual tool to help him understand and envision and where the pitches he wants to hit are coming from. Didn’t get a chance to ask McClendon about it today. But it was rather interesting to see all the teaching and work being done with Miller.

This is from Adam Jude … who is writing the game story and was in Joe Maddon’s press meeting:

Brut-al idea

Tampa Bay, having lost six of seven, entered Tuesday’s game against the Mariners in last place in the AL East at 16-23.

Rays manager Joe Maddon had a nose for a possible solution: He asked his players to wear cologne during the game.

“I’m hoping for this really awful odor in the dugout with all these scents tonight,” Maddon said before the game. “That would be outstanding.”

Maddon has a reputation as an entertaining, and eccentric, personality. During spring training, he brought a bread maker into the Rays’ lunchroom because he believed “aroma mattered.”

“I really believe aroma still matters,” he said Tuesday. “I was just trying to conjure up our guys’ fathers into their daily experience here. My dad, Monday night (was) bowling night and he’d get all cleaned up, shaven up and go out to bowl and put his cologne on. My dad was really into colognes. I think it was Brut or Canoe back in the day.

“So there’s always that really warm fuzzy about how your dad smelled when he went bowling with uncle Jack and uncle Buzz on Monday nights, so I thought that the guys would kind of dig maybe possibly spraying the cologne on that their dad would wear — that kind of nostalgic thing to stir things up a bit.”

From earlier

Experiencing Deja vu? No, not that place and get your mind out of the gutter. The Mariners rolled out the same batting order as yesterday. As best I can tell, this is the second time the Mariners have rolled out the same line-up in back-to-back games since April 3 and April 5. The reason for that was the game on April 4 in Oakland was “rained out” and the A’s juggled their rotation a little.

Is this a big deal? Not really.

I know some people are big proponents of having the same line-up every day. But the way the 25-man roster is constructed and with better statistical and situational knowledge available, the days of rolling out the same line-up or batting order 50 times in a season is gone.

Some of you may have noticed that Nick Franklin wasn’t in the starting line-up today for the Rainiers’ afternoon game  in Las Vegas and thought maybe he was en route to Seattle to replace Brad Miller. He is not. At least, not yet. Franklin actually appeared in the game, pinch-hitting in the ninth.  Box score: Rainiers BOX 05.13.2014

I’m not sure if it was a scheduled rest or he was benched from the night before. Franklin was removed from the game last night after making mental mistake following his second error of the game. There has been some concern with Franklin’s lack of focus and effort in the field of late. The Rainiers coaching staff has been frustrated some mental lapses in the field and on the bases and manager Roy Howell met with Franklin two days ago discuss these issues. A day later, he was pulled from the game.

I’m not sure whether these issues have delayed the Mariners from calling up Franklin and sending down Brad Miller. It’s possible. These were issues that dogged Franklin a few years ago when he was climbing the organizational ladder. To his credit,  he addressed them, corrected them and moved forward. I assume he will do the same this time. There is likely some added and expected frustration for Franklin with how this season has played out for him. He’s putting up massive numbers in Class AAA and is stuck there, for now.

Chris Taylor might be the best defensive shortstop of three. He’s also played 34 games in Class AAA and is not on the 40-man roster. As much as the Mariners rushed Zunino (injury reasons) and others, this would be huge rush for Taylor.

Still the fact remains that Miller is hitting .160. And that isn’t going to cut it. The Mariners may look at the next five to seven days and see if there really is progress before making a decision. They  make a move before they go on the road trip.

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This is Mark Ripperger’s strikezone from last night. Red marks are strikes, green marks are balls. Alls they jagged square is the perceived strike zone for most MLB umps.  You can see why both sides would be unhappy. As I mentioned last night, Ripperger, Sunday’s umpire Marcus Pattillo,  Adam Hamari (tossed Andy Van Slyke in NYC) and others are Class AAA umps that are working MLB games this year than ever. Why? Well MLB umps get paid vacation during the season so they miss games for that. Also there are eight MLB umpires at the replay center each night, so the pool is shrunken even more.

Here’s my radio hit with Mitch in the Morning

Official game notes … 

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