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September 18, 2014 at 2:41 PM

Pregame notes and lineups – Mariners vs. the … ahem … Angels

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As was mentioned a couple times yesterday, the Mariner have changed up their rotation for the Houston series with Taijuan Walker starting on Friday.

“It pushes (Iwakuma and Walker) and keeps them fresh,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “They need it. They all need it.”

It also works best for Walker, whose last appearance was on Sept. 14 in relief.

“He slots right in,” McClendon said. “It just makes sense.”

Walker will have no restrictions. He will have a typical pitch count of a starter.

In three appearances in September, Walker has pitched well, posting a 1.93 ERA

“I like his energy,” McClendon said. “I like his pace. His command of the strike zone has been much better. I don’t think he’s trying so much to miss bats. I think he’s done a good job.”

Missing bats? Is that the cry for pitch to contact? No.

“I want him to attack the strike zone,” McClendon said. “Walks serve no purpose other than when you are trying to pitch around somebody. But his stuff is so good, he shouldn’t have to try to do that.”

With Roenis Elias done for the season with elbow issues, this is an opportunity for Walker to show he belongs on the big league rotation with a couple starts.

“It’s a real good experience for him,” McClendon said. “Obviously, this has been a real tough year for him. I think he’s starting to grow up a little bit from a mental standpoint and starting to ‘get it’ so to speak.”

McClendon has been critical of Walker’s growth when it comes to understanding the expectations of being a major league starter.

“There’s a natural progression that he needs to take and I think he’s starting to take it,” McClendon said. “Sometimes young players can believe the hype that you guys  throw on them and it can get in the way of their development. I think he’s finally gotten to the point where he’s putting that aside and he’s going out and concentrating on what’s going to make him better. That’s healthy. That’s a healthy progression. That’s healthy growth from a pitching standpoint.”

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No update yet on Roenis Elias’ MRI.

 

From earlier 

As expected, the Angels have rested the bulk of their regular starters tonight.  I’m sure they celebrated deep into the night following their clinching of the AL West title last night.  That means even Jered Weaver has been bumped from his start  for “dehydration” and Wade LeBlanc will making the spot start.

Here’s the M’s experience vs. LeBlanc ….

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Here’s LeBlanc’s career splits …

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So surely, the Mariners should win, right?

Well, the Braves almost lost to the Nats throw away lineup last night. And let’s not forget, the Tigers lost to this juggernaut lineup from the Mariners back in May.  If I recall that day, many people exclaimed it was the worst Mariners’ lineup they’ve ever seen, which of course, is total hyperbole, short memory or lack of Mariners’ awful lineup knowledge.

Still, the Mariners should win tonight. That doesn’t mean they will. Seattle doesn’t exactly crush soft-tossing lefties. But who knows. Justin Smoak isn’t in there tonight so Twitter has been quiet (yeah right).

Yes, Kendrys Morales is batting fourth with a lefty starter on the mound. This isn’t news.

 

Mariners official game notes

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