Pregame notes, lineups, matchups for Tuesday night's game between the Mariners and Rays at Tropicana Field.
The Mariners have a different, but familiar look to their lineup on Tuesday at Tropicana Field. Manager Scott Servais moved Leonys Martin back into the leadoff spot with the Mariners facing right-hander Jake Odorizzi of the Rays, while Norichika Aoki was dropped to eighth in the order.
“He’s looks like he’s got his legs back under him so we put him back at the top of the lineup and we’ll go from there,” Servais said of Martin.
This isn’t new. Before Martin went on the disabled list with a strained hamstring on May 26, he had taken over the leadoff sport.
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“He was certainly headed that way before the injury,” Servais said. “He didn’t have a great weekend with the bat, but it was his first time back and against a couple of good lefties as well. We’ll see if we can get him going and spark our offense a little bit. I thought his bats were getting better, laying off some breaking balls. It’s only a couple days back but I figured I’d give it a shot.”
Martin had just five games at leadoff right before he was injured. It was during the time when he was hitting everything hard. He hit .550 (11-for-20) with a double, two homers and five RBI in those games. Obviously, that kind of production isn’t what the Mariners are expecting. But Aoki hasn’t been producing quite at the level expected. Martin has more speed and is a better baserunner with extra-base hit potential.
“It’s a different type of offensive player,” Servais said. “Obviously Leonys has a little more juice, a little more power. We’re not necessarily looking for homers out of that spot, but the speed game and the bunt game. There’s a lot that goes in there. I certainly like what Aoki brings, but against right-hand pitching, Leonys’ numbers aren’t that far behind. It’s something we can play with back and forth.”
Martin’s splits are pretty significant. He is hitting just .217 with a .275 on-base percentage vs. left-handed pitching. There’s a chance that Ketel Marte will move into that leadoff spot or even the No. 2 spot on days when there are left-handed starting pitchers.
“With what Marte does against lefties, it fits there for us,” Servais said. “He’s kind of our only guy like that for us, right-handed hitting-wise. So you’ll see him at the top of the lineup more against left-handed starters.”
That means Aoki will be hitting in the bottom part of the order pretty often.
Aoki’s numbers are way down against left-handed pitching. And it wouldn’t be surprising to see Shawn O’Malley getting into the lineup on those days.
“We talked to him about it way back in the Houston series about controlling the zone more and quit chasing so many pitches,” Servais said. “I think he’s been doing a little bit better job at that.”
Based on where the Mariners are at right now and looking at the 25-man roster. It’s easy to see Seattle looking at a different option in the left field spot. You might even see switch-hitting Shawn O’Malley getting some starts on days against a lefty starter.
Servais on needs for improvement going forward …
“When we are going good, we are pitching really well. Our starting pitching has been key. When we have struggled a little bit, it’s because our starting pitching has waffled. That’s what we have to get away from. The consistency of the starting pitching is going to be key for me. I think the emergence of Paxton and Walker, Kuma has been pretty solid. We have to get Miley going again, Karns back to doing what he’s capable of. It’s the key for us over the next 20 games. It will be the deciding factor of whether we go 15-5, 10-10, those guys will dictate what happens.”
Batter vs. starting pitcher matchups
Rays numbers vs. Taijuan Walker
Mariners numbers vs. Jake Odorizzi
American League West Standings
Around the AL West
Tom Wilhlemsen was roughed up for nine hits in one inning in Oakland in the Rangers’ loss.
Adrian Beltre’s hamstring has improved, but he’s still not in the lineup
Carlos Correa is back in the lineup
A’s starter Sean Manaea left his start with a forearm strain
Jered Weaver got roughed up again and the Angels fell to 10 games below .500.
On this day in Mariners’ history
- 1985 – The Mariners exploded for seven 5th-inning runs to defeat the Kansas City Royals, 13-5, collecting 15 hits in the process. Alvin Davis drove in four runs, while Gorman Thomas and Bob Kearney each drove in three runs.
- 1990 – The Mariners score three in the bottom of the ninth, all with two outs, to beat Chicago 5-4.
- 1993 – Randy Johnson fans 15 vs. Kansas City Royals in a 6-3 win.
- 2010 – Mariners played their debut game at the new Busch Stadium. They lost 9-3.
- 2013 – Mike Zunino hits his first MLB home run for the GWRBI in the Mariners 3-2 win at Oakland.
Shoreline standout and Rays’ top pitching prospect Blake Snell will get the start for the Rays on Thursday. He’ll arrive in Saint Petersburg on Wednesday.