Update 4:15 p.m.
So why did Lloyd McClendon call up James Jones to replace Erasmo Ramirez on the roster?
“He can do a lot of things on defense and he can steal a bases,” McClendon said. “He can steal a base when you know he’s going to steal a base. I thought that’s an important ingredient. That might help us win a ball game. He certainly can roam the outfield and play some defense.”
With Austin Jackson now entrenched in center field, Jones will play the corner outfield positions. That shouldn’t be a problem since he played the corner outfield spots coming up the minor leagues. The conversion to center field happened in the last two seasons.
How will McClendon handle the five outfielders?
“I’m not going to rotate anyone,” he said. “I’m going to play the guys that I play and James will fit in defensive side of things and late in the games he can steal a base for us. But I doubt if he gets a lot of playing time.”
Jones was struggling when he was sent down to Tacoma. Look at his last 12 games.
Jones used his time in Tacoma to start over again.
“It definitely gave me time to reset and draw things back,” he said. “I felt like I was pressing.”
Jones knows what led to his struggles.
“Pitchers were just going out of the zone and I was chasing at pitches,” he said. “I know that as a hitter, you have to get a good pitch to hit and just keep it as simple as that. If I get a good pitch to hit, I’m going to put it in play and drive it. But I’m not going to do well with balls bouncing and out of the zone.”
Jones said it was his own doing and pitchers attacked it.
“I think I created that trend for me,” he said. “Early on in the season, I wasn’t chasing out of the zone. But once I started chasing, they definitely fed into it. And if they get me out that way, they aren’t going to change. They see it as why throw a strike when he’s going to swing at pitches that aren’t strikes.”
McClendon wouldn’t make too much of this series with the Blue Jays. He doesn’t want to overhype it for his players.
“I try to temper that,” he said. “I’ve tried to do that all year. I know it’s cliche, but just take it one day at a time. My goal going into any series is obviously to win the first game and then win the series. It’s the Toronto Blue Jays and I understand the implications. But it’s one game at a time for me.”
But McClendon knows that the team’s success has fans excited for this series and the rest of the season.
“I think people are excited about what’s happening,” McClendon said. “One thing I caution is this: I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m going to enjoy the journey. I told my players to enjoy the journey. We’re in it. It’s an exciting time. I like our chances. I like my team. We’ll see what happens. It should be fun.”
Michael Saunders rehab stint will be put on hold for a few days as he flies home to Colorado to be with his wife as she gives birth to the couple’s second child.
“He’s really close,” McClendon said. “But we’ll have to push him back a few days.”
Here’s today’s lineup. Brad Miller and Endy Chavez get starts today with right-hander Drew Hutchison on the mound. Yes, Chris Taylor is playing, BAPIPing opponents to death. But Miller has to play a little. He’s not like Willie Bloomquist, who has operated as a backup/utility player for years. You have to give Miller game reps every four to five games to keep him somewhat sharp. It’s just the way it is.
Hutchison does have some interesting career splits when it comes extra base hits from left-handers.
Only three Mariners hitters have faced him — Austin Jackson, Robinson Cano and Kendrys Morales. They have a combined nine plate appearances against him.
Felix Hernandez’s career numbers vs. the Blue Jays aren’t great. He’s made 11 career starts and is 4-5 with a 4.95 ERA with 63 strikeouts in 72 2/3 innings pitched. In his last three starts vs. the Jays at Safeco Field, he’s 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA – But two of those starts have come at the end of the last two seasons where he was running out of gas. Of course, the circumstances of this game are a little different.
Here’s the Jays’ individual numbers vs. Felix
Official game notes …
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