May 14, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Seattle Mariners right fielder Michael Morse (38) doubles to deep left during the second inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Pregame news and notes, 5/18

The Mariners fell to the Indians 6-3 in 10 innings last night, as Jason Kipnis ripped a walk-off three-run blast off of Lucas Luetge. Seattle missed out on their first opportunity to reach the .500 mark since the second week of April, and fell to 20-22. This morning, the Mariners get underway at 10:05 PT, with Joe Saunders taking on Zach McAllister. Before they get

Bad road starter Joe Saunders. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

underway in Cleveland, here are some things to look out for.

Woeful road Joe

Ladies and gentlemen, Joe Saunders’ four starts on the road in 2013:

April 3, Oakland: 4 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 4 BB, 3 K

April 19, Texas: 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 9 H, 3 BB, 0 K

April 24, Houston: 5 IP, 8 ER, 11 H, 2 BB, 2 K

May 5, Toronto: 5 IP, 7 ER, 9 H, 2 BB, 0 K

All four of these are horrid starts in their own special ways, and all four are Mariners’ losses by wide margins. The closest game of the bunch was the first one, a 6-2 loss to the A’s. Anything can happen in baseball, but starting Joe Saunders on the road this year has been akin to a forfeit for the Mariners. Part of that may be that he only has five strikeouts in 18.2 road innings this year. He’s relying on contact too much and paying the price. His 12.54 road ERA has to come down today for the Mariners to sniff success.

Saunders gets day off

Endy Chavez is leading off and playing centerfield today, a role Michael Saunders has occupied in every game since returning from the disabled list. Eric Wedge and my northwest.com’s Shannon Drayer played it off like a regular day off, but Saunders has been slumping lately. Three of his last four games resulted in 0-for-5 performances, and in those three games, he totaled seven strikeouts. That doesn’t equate to quality lead off hitting, and Saunders’ time in that slot could be limited if Chavez or Dustin Ackley can keep hitting.

Morse returns from eye trouble

The official word on Michael Morse’s eye irritation last night was that he poked himself in the eye some time leading up to Friday’s game and had issues with a dislodged contact and blurred vision for the rest of the night. The Mariners could have used his hot bat yesterday, as runs were few and far between. Hopefully the eye issue doesn’t derail Morse’s hot streak, during which he has racked up nine hits in his past four games.

Here’s the lineup for today:

  1. Chavez CF
  2. Ackley 2B
  3. Seager 3B
  4. Morales DH
  5. Morse RF
  6. Ibanez LF
  7. Smoak 1B
  8. Montero C
  9. Ryan SS

Tags: Joe Saunders Michael Morse Michael Saunders Seattle Mariners

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