A spring Sunday in April without baseball and without a legitimate reason for it? What in the name of Abner Doubleday is going on with the Mariners and the schedulers at Major League Baseball?
For whatever reason, and manager Scott Servais didn’t have one to provide, the Mariners have no game on Easter Sunday. For decades, the Sunday afternoon games have been a staple of the major league schedule.
“It’s never happened for me in the big leagues,” Servais said. “Gosh, it’s been about 33 years in pro ball, and I’ve never had a Sunday off day. It’s crazy. But you know, the schedule makers or computers or whatever shoots it out, that’s what it shot out this year, so we’ll deal with it. Yeah, we all are. Some of the guys will look forward to having a day off, but it will be weird.”
When the Mariners return to action Monday, they will host the White Sox, a team with postseason expectations, in a three-game series.
The pitching probables feature a scintillating matchup on Tuesday night.
- Monday: Carlos Rodon, LHP vs. Justus Sheffield, LHP
- Tuesday: Lucas Giolito, RHP vs. James Paxton, LHP
- Wednesday: Dallas Keuchel, LHP vs. Justin Dunn, RHP
Paxton will make his first start in his return to the Mariners after switching slots in the rotation with Yusei Kikuchi. The hard-throwing Giolito is considered a dark-horse candidate to win the American League Cy Young. Last season, he posted a 3.48 ERA in 12 starts with 97 strikeouts in 72 1/3 innings. In his first start on opening day, he pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on two hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.
With the White Sox starting a pair of left-handed pitchers, Servais will likely start utility infielder Sam Haggerty at an outfield spot or at second base and move Dylan Moore to left field. Haggerty, a switch hitter, did not appear in the first two games of the season.
“That’s where he’ll get his first start,” Servais said. “His starts in ballgames will probably come vs. left-handed pitching.”
Servais said he could start both catchers — Luis Torrens and Tom Murphy — in the lineup at the same time with one of them serving as the designated hitter. Murphy played on opening night, but he has been on the bench the last two games. After struggling most of spring training with his timing, he still looks out of sync at the plate. The hope is that facing some left-hand pitching, which Murphy hits well, will get him going.
“We’re gonna face a couple left handers there,” Servais said. “There’s the possibility of getting both of our catchers in the lineup on those nights versus left-handed pitching with the right-handed bat that Luis brings and Murph’s history of hitting lefties. Luis is gonna get it’s gonna get two out of three in this series and it probably flips the other way in the next series.”
- Right-hander reliever Matt Magill announced via Twitter that he will be undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. The Mariners recently released him from his minor league contract and re-signed him to a new two-year minor league contract. The surgery is likely the reason why they made that move.
Magill, 31, was a nonroster invite to the Mariners’ big league spring training after signing a minor league contract this offseason. He appeared in three games, pitching 2 1/3 innings, allowing a solo home run, walking two batters and striking out two.
Acquired from the Twins midway through the 2019 season after he was designated for assignment, Magill pitched well for the remainder of the season, posting a 3.63 earned-run average with five saves in 22 appearances. But he made just 11 appearances last season, posting a 6.10 ERA in 10 1/3 innings pitched. He was plagued by shoulder issues dating back to spring training. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder in September.
- The hope for additional at-bats and games for the Mariners prospects remaining in Arizona, including Jarred Kelenic, Julio Rodriguez, Logan Gilbert and Emerson Hancock, has not come together as planned. Servais said that those Mariners’ prospects have only played in one game. A COVID-19 issue with one of the teams in the mini co-op league has forced them to shut down activity for a few days. Servais said the hope was to continue things next week.