Pregame news and notes, 5/28


If Sunday’s walk-off win wasn’t enough, the Mariners angrily shook off their eight-game losing streak Monday, clobbering the Padres 9-0. Home runs from Mike Morse, Jason Bay and Kelly Shoppach led the offensive burst, while Aaron Harang made by far his best start as a Mariner, pitching a complete game, four-hit shutout. The M’s now sit at 22-29, and will look to continue their momentum t0night. Brandon Maurer takes on Edinson Volquez at 7:10 PT from Safeco, as the Mariners go for a mini-sweep before the series switches to San Diego.

Wedge blamed Sabermetrics for Ackley’s struggle Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Before game time, here are some storylines to follow:

Franklin makes his first major league start

The Mariner called up their second baseman of the future in Nick Franklin yesterday. In his first major league at bat, he drew a walk from reliever Tyson Ross. He also had two assists in the eighth inning at second. Today, he starts at second and will hit seventh, in front of Jesus Sucre and Brendan Ryan. The walk in yesterday’s debut is a telling sign about Franklin’s plate patience. He walked thirty times in Tacoma this season and only struck out 20 times.

Wedge blames Ackley’s failures on Sabermetrics

Mariners manager Eric Wedge has taken a ton of heat around the blogosphere today after a comment that appeared toward the end of Greg Johns’ story misappropriated the blame for Dustin Ackley’s recent struggles. Here’s the quote:

“It’s the new generation. It’s all this sabermetrics stuff, for lack of a better term, you know what I mean? People who haven’t played since they were 9 years old think they have it figured out. It gets in these kids’ heads.”

Well, actually, no, that’s wrong. At least I hope it is. If Ackley’s problem is reading too much into his suffering WAR and things like that, that’s pretty stupid. He needs to block that kind of stuff out. That’s just part of being a major league baseball player. Wedge also needs to limit Ackley’s exposure to negativity. If all this is true, it’s a mental failure on the organization’s part as well as Ackley’s.

Slumping Saunders returns to lineup

Since May 16, Michael Saunders has three hits in 37 at-bats. That stretch has dropped his previously surging batting average from .278 to .216 in less than two weeks. Also since May 16, Saunders has yet to participate in a Mariners win. Sure, he started the Mariners’ walk-off win Sunday. However, he was the one lifted for Jason Bay in the ninth inning, before Bay won the game in the 13th. Saunders needs a good game to get his confidence going. He’ll hit sixth tonight and play centerfield.

Here’s the rest of the Mariners lineup ahead of tonight’s game:

  1. Chavez LF
  2. Seager 3B
  3. Ibanez DH
  4. Morales 1B
  5. Morse RF
  6. Saunders CF
  7. Franklin 2B
  8. Sucre C
  9. Ryan SS