For the first time since the last week of spring training, the Mariners rolled out the top of their ideal batting order in Thursday’s series opener vs. the Boston Red Sox.
With Kyle Lewis missing the first 17 games of the season due to a bone bruise in his right knee and Ty France being held out of the starting lineup in Tuesday’s homestand finale with the Dodgers after getting hit in the right forearm, manager Scott Servais had to wait a few extra days to pencil out the top of the order as he had envisioned.
But with France’s forearm feeling much better, Servais finally got his chance. He rolled out the batting order of:
- Mitch Haniger, RF
- Ty France, DH
- Kyle Seager, 3B
- Kyle Lewis, CF
- Evan White, 1B
- Taylor Trammell, LF
- Luis Torrens, C
- Dylan Moore, 2B
- J.P. Crawford, SS
The first four of Haniger, France, Seager and Lewis represent a potent quartet that is resistant to reliever matchup strategy and has power potential. For much of the season, Haniger, France and Seager have shouldered the offensive load. They’ve combined for 57 of the Mariners’ 120 hits, including 13 doubles, a triple, nine of the Mariners’ 19 homers, 30 runs scored and 36 runs batted in. And this production includes Seager going 0 for 16 in his last four games.
The addition of Lewis means players like White, Torrens and Murphy won’t have to bat in the cleanup spot.
Baseball folks call it “lengthening the lineup” when talent is added to the top spots. The Mariners’ lineup is better on Thursday than it was at any point this season.
Still, Seattle is carrying several hitters who are struggling. Crawford has worked out of his early doldrums with a recent eight-game hitting streak, posting a .303/.361/.333 slash line in the past 10 games.
But other Mariners regulars have still yet to show expected production.
- Trammell: .176/.288/.392 in 59 plate appearances with 25 strikeouts
- Moore: .115/.230/.231 in 61 plate appearances with 21 strikeouts
- Murphy: .125/.176/.219 in 35 plate appearances with 11 strikeouts
- White: .186/.255/.302 in 47 plate appearances with 14 strikeouts
“We’ll look to kind of rotate that DH spot a little bit,” Servais said. “We’ll try to get a day for Kyle Lewis at some point in this series and we still want to be very disciplined in making sure that we get Mitch Haniger off his feet and give him a DH day here and there. So we’ll continue to rotate our DH spot around throughout this trip.”
*** Lefty Nick Margevicius, who was forced out of his last start with arm fatigue, will make his normal turn in the Mariners’ six-man rotation in Sunday’s series finale. “I talked to Marge and he felt fine,” Servais said before Thursday’s game. “He will go through his long toss program and stuff and will get on the mound today for a light bullpen.”
*** Servais couldn’t give a number on how many players, coaches and staff received their first vaccine shot after Tuesday’s game at T-Mobile Park. Based on MLB’s memo in late March, the Mariners need 85% of people classified in Tier 1 to have COVID restrictions and guidelines relaxed.
“Yeah, we’re not at the 85% yet,” he said. “I’m still very hopeful that we can get there. Again, it’s an individual choice for guys to see where they’re at, but I think we’re moving in the right direction. Hopefully, we can get there.”
*** The Mariners brought right-handed pitchers Robert Dugger and Domingo Tapia, lefty Aaron Fletcher, infielder Donnie Walton and catcher Jose Godoy on the road trip as members of the taxi squad.