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July 2, 2014 at 8:53 AM

Wednesday morning’s pregame notes and lineups vs. the Astros

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Update 11:17 a.m. Bagwell time

In talking with Kyle Seager last night, we were discussing Robinson Cano’s big RBI double in the sixth inning to start the deluge. Here’s the video.

While this isn’t a perfect adaptation of where the pitch was thrown , you can see the general location of the pitch Cano hit for a double …

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It’s amazing that Cano can hit that pitch and hit it in that spot.

How does he do it?

“I don’t know,” Seager said. “I wish I did. He’s special. That’s his swing. He stays on the ball, he keeps it down to left. That’s a really hard thing to do. It’s hard to get the ball out of the air to left field for a left-handed hitter, but he does it so well. He keeps his posture, he’s special.”

How many guys can do that?

“Not many,” manager Lloyd McClendon said.

Beyond the sheer talent it takes to hit that pitch, there is something beyond that. While much has been made of Cano not pulling pitches with power as much any more, the Mariners believe it’s because of different thinking.

Cano isn’t a greedy hitter. Scoring the runs is more important than how he scores them. It’s why he doesn’t unnecessarily try to pull pitches that he shouldn’t. It’s why he knows sometimes a fly ball or a single is just as important. It’s why he won’t give in to outside pitches or try and pull fly balls on cold nights in Safeco Field.

“You talk about a superstar like that,” Seager said. ” You look at the lineup, you look at Cano and he’s obviously the focal point. For him to just take what’s given, that passes along to everybody else. That’s the right approach. That’s why he’s a superstar.”

Said McClendon: “That’s what makes so good right there.”

Cano takes into account every factor  in one at-bat. The situation, the pitcher, the defense, the stadium, the conditions …. everything.

“I certainly think he adjusts to the situation and he identifies what a guy is trying to do to him in that at-bat,” McClendon said. “That comes with experience and talent.”

Even when asked about it, Cano defers to team thinking.

“As a team you want everybody to contribute and as a team you want the rest of the guys to help,” he said. “You don’t want only two, three guys. You want the whole team and that’s what we’re doing lately. We’re all contributing and doing the little things, move them over and do the job with men in scoring position and not try to do too much in the situation.”

*** Dustin Ackley had three hits last night. Everyone knows he’s struggling. He knows it too. With the three hits last night, he’s hitting .223 with a .283 OBP and .340 slugging percentage. Ackley is just trying to find some comfort in the box.

Getting that first hit to break an 0-for-21 stretched helped.

“It was good to work the count and hit a curveball on 3-2,” he said. “It was nice to find a hole. It was also nice to barrel a ball up pretty good. That was kind of the start to the whole day for me. Get some confidence going into the rest of the at-bats.”

Ackley has been working on minor things with his swing and stance, but nothing major.

“You’re always kind of tinkering with things. trying to see what works,” he said. “Trying to do stuff in the cage. Try to feel what’s comfortable that day and just try get something going. Today I felt good in BP and it translated into the game.”

For him, it’s getting to a point where he doesn’t feel like he’s out of sorts in the batter’s box.

“It’s just getting to the point where  you step to the plate and you don’t have to worry where your hands are or where this is,”  he said.  You are just up there, relaxed and comfortable. That’s the big thing. When it comes down to it, it’s more mental than it is anything.”

McClendon hopes it’s the start of a hot streak.

“We need him to be productive and to be successful,” McClendon said. “It’s really remarkable that we’ve had the run that we’ve had and he hasn’t done much. We need him to step it up and pick up his production.”

Notes

*** Justin Smoak got the night off from his rehab outing because of general body soreness. McClendon said Smoak has “grinding” pretty hard on his rehab start and just needed a day.

*** James Paxton played long toss today. He’s still on schedule to throw a bullpen session on Friday in Chicago.

From earlier …

Same lineup as yesterday with the exception of John Buck replacing Mike Zunino at catcher. Zunino is getting the usual day game after a night game off. So that means plenty of lefties.

Astros’ starter Brad Peacock doesn’t have huge splits against lefties for his career, but they do have an advantage …

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Here’s how Mariners’ hitters have fared against him.

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From the official game notes …

Official game notes …. 

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