Kelly Shoppach says he sees similarities between the Mariners and the Cleveland teams he played for from 2006 through 2009.
CLEVELAND — A homecoming for Mariners catcher Kelly Shoppach wasn’t the kind associated with media scrums and cheering fans.
But Shoppach did have a handful of employees at Progressive Field come over to say hello to him during the Mariners’ series. Shoppach arrived in Cleveland his second year in the majors in 2006 and remained there through 2009, joining a young core of players that came within one win of going to the 2007 World Series.
Now, as he puts it, the “shoe is on the other foot” and he is one of the veterans imported to guide a young M’s core along. But Shoppach said he sees similarities between this M’s team and those Indians squads managed by current Seattle field boss Eric Wedge.
“One thing we always had in Cleveland — and I think it stems from Wedgie — was the confidence to go out and win every game,” Shoppach said. “You’ve got to try to win all of them and you have to do it in all types of ways. We knew that and we had the feeling we could do that.
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“We have that same feeling here right now. We’re not going to win every time we play. But we go in there thinking we can. And at this level, that can make all the difference sometimes.”
In the clutch
The Mariners entered play Monday batting just 1 for 23 (.045) with runners in scoring position against the Indians in three games.
Things changed in the first inning when Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse produced run-scoring singles with a runner on second base each time. Wedge had said before the game that hitting with runners in scoring position takes work and is not merely subject to random luck as some proponents of statistical analysis have suggested.
“We’re human beings and we’re not widgets. OK?” Wedge said. “It’s no different than when you’re doing regular human-being things and your heartbeat speeds up a bit from the things that you’re doing in regular life.”
• Aaron Harang was feeling good after a morning run and remains on track to start Tuesday night in Anaheim as scheduled.
• Michael Saunders had been 6 for 6 in stolen-base attempts before being thrown out at second to end the fourth inning.