Pregame notes, lineups, quotes and matchups for Tuesday night's game vs. the Orioles. Mark Trumbo discusses how he continues to use what he learned from Mariners' hitting coach Edgar Martinez last season.
Mark Trumbo’s torrid start to the 2016 season – a .299 batting average, a .929 on-base plus slugging percentage, five doubles, a triple, 11 homers and 28 rBI – isn’t unexpected. Playing in the hitter friendly confines of Camden Yards and other American League venues, there was a thought that Trumbo could flourish as part of the Orioles’ already solid middle of the lineup.
“He was still a Mariner when I was hired,” manager Scott Servais said. “I did have a talk with him. I like Mark a lot. He’s a really sharp guy and I like how he goes about his business. Of all the places he could have landed, for him and his future, this one was probably a pretty good landing spot. We knew that when we traded him over here. This ballpark was going to help him. But really, he’s just been a better hitter. He’s controlling the strike zone better. He’s swinging at more strikes and laying off some pitches. He’s a tougher out. Trumbo has always been a streaky hitter and when he is hot, he’s really, really good.”
Trumbo credit’s the success to Mariners’ hitting coach Edgar Martinez.
“It’s just an extension on what I was working on with Edgar last year,” Trumbo said. “Minus that month of June which was pretty pitiful, I think the numbers were pretty strong after. That’s just something that I took to the offseason and tried to continue those principles. I took it into spring and it’s worked. It’s been great working with Scott Coolbaugh here and having some different voices. More or less, it’s just an extension of what I was working on with Edgar last year.”
Trumbo’s first 22 games with the Mariners:
And Trumbo after that:
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What did they work on? Like most hitters, Trumbo was reluctant to divulge exact specifics so it can’t be exploited.
“There was some mechanical things he didn’t like in my swing,” Trumbo said. “A couple of the maneuvers that were just wasted movement and created some timing issues. We had some talks and he said he didn’t really like a few of the things and if I could cut them out, I’d probably be better for it. And that’s what ended up happening.”
Martinez wasn’t afraid to share the changes. They aren’t unique to any player’s swing.
“I think he was hitting more off the back leg so we worked on hitting against the front leg and releasing the back leg a little bit and keeping his bat longer in the zone,” he said.
And the biggest change was what Martinez called a “bat wrap” when Trumbo went to initiate his swing. The head and barrel of Trumbo’s bat would tilt forward as he initiated the swing, almost as a trigger to action. To Martinez, that was unnecessary movement that messed with timing of the swing while adding length to it.
“It looks like he’s been able to clean that up,” Martinez said. “I didn’t see it last night. He doesn’t have that loop. That’s a habit that is really hard to break. It takes a long time to fix it, but it looks like in the offseason he was able to fix that. Some guys can never break that. His swing looks very clean.”
Trumbo can sense the difference.
“I feel like I’m on time more,” Trumbo said. “And if you are on time, you have a much better chance to square some balls up that in the past I fouled off or swung and missed. And because I’m in the better position and maybe ready a tad sooner, I can make the solid contact or check the pitch off for a ball. It’s been good.”
As for the trade that sent him to Baltimore in exchange for catcher Steve Clevenger, the news wasn’t unexpected to Trumbo.
“No, not terribly surprised,” he said. “You could see how it was shaking out. I felt like it was something that was a definite possibility. I wasn’t all that surprised. I did get a little bit of reasoning on it and I found it interesting. But now I’m in the situation where I’m having some of the most fun I’ve ever had.”
While Trumbo wouldn’t comment publicly on why he believes he was traded, the reasons are not hard to discern. He was going to be owed close to $9 million this season as a third-year arbitration eligible player. It’s a lot of money for a player that that didn’t fit the “control the zone” profile of players that new general manager Jerry Dipoto was trying to put on his 25-man roster.
Batter vs. pitcher matchups
Mariners numbers vs. Orioles starter Chris Tillman
Orioles numbers vs. Mariners’ starter Taijuan Walker
American League West Standings
Around the AL West
*** Khris Davis hit three homers, including a walk-off grand slam off of Rangers’ closer Shawn Tolleson, in Oakland’s 8-5 win over Texas.
Mark Canha will have season-ending hip surgery.
*** Rougned Odor was suspended eight games. Tolleson’s time as closer could be coming to an end.
*** Evan Gattis is back and he helped the Astros win in extra innings.
*** The Angels lost to Clayton Kershaw … no shame in that. Daniel Nava and Cory Rasmus are headed for the DL.
On this day in Mariners’ history
- 1978 – Lou Gorman is promoted from Director of Baseball Operations to General Manager.
- 1985 – Ivan Calderon’s 8th-inning, pinch-hit home run off Baltimore’s Tippy Martinez gave the Mariners an 8-7 win at the Kingdome.
- 1991 – Pat Rice wins his Major League debut 4-1 in Yankee Stadium. Rice, who arrived in New York just in time to pitch went 5.2 innings and did not allow a run.
- 1999 – Edgar Martinez connects for 3 HR, 12th time in career, and 5th HR in 2 days, tying ML record (22ndtime, 10th AL) vs. Minnesota.
- 2008 – Ichiro records career stolen base # 291 vs. San Diego, setting the club SB record…old record was 290 set by Julio Cruz.
- 2012 – Kevin Millwood throws a 2-hit complete-game shutout at Colorado in the Mariners 4-0 win. Millwood threw his 6th career shutout, but first since Aug. 1, 2003. Kyle Seager goes 2-for-3 with 2 RBI and Mike Carp hits his 3rd home run.
- 2013 – Raul Ibañez and Justin Smoak hit back-to-back solo home runs with two outs in the top of the 9th inning to tie the game vs. the Indians at 4-4. Cleveland recorded a walk-off win (for the second straight night) on a fielder’s choice grounder by Mark Reynolds.
- 2015 – Brad Miller was named AL Player of the Week after hitting .429 (9×21) with 6 runs scored, 3 doubles, 4 home runs, 5 RBI in 6 games…Miller hit 4 home runs over five games after hitting just 1 home run through first 30 games.