Mariners Game Notes: Tai Walker, Jackie Robinson and King Felix


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The Seattle Mariners (3-5) will look to put the disappointment of the past 2 nights behind them Wednesday as they take on the Los Angeles Dodgers (5-3) in the finale of their 3 game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 pm at Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine. Taijuan Walker will be charged with helping Seattle avoid the sweep tonight, while Brett Anderson will toe the rubber for the Trolley Dodgers. Tonight’s game will be televised nationally on ESPN to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day in baseball.


Mariners’ skipper Lloyd McClendon and Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly have announced the following lineups for tonight’s game:

The Mariners are going with a near identical lineup to the one they had last night. The only change is Logan Morrison will man first base and hit 6th after getting the night off on Tuesday. As is expected to be the case all season, Dustin Ackley is on the bench tonight with a southpaw pitching for the Dodgers. Rickie Weeks gets the nod in left field and he will hit leadoff for the M’s. Lloyd McClendon is the lone African-American Manager in the Major Leagues, and he paid his respect to the legendary Jackie Robinson with a special note on Seattle’s lineup card.

Tai Walker Excited to Pitch on Jackie Robinson Day

Tai Walker grew up roughly 1 hour away from Dodger Stadium, but that is not why he is so excited to pitch tonight. Many of his family and friends will be on hand to watch him pitch, but that is not why he is so excited to pitch tonight. According to Walker, it has always been a dream to pitch on Jackie Robinson Day, and to get the chance to fulfill his dream against Robinson’s Dodgers is surreal.

The participation in baseball amongst African-Americans is down, but Prince Tai is one of the best young players in the sport and he represents the legacy of Jackie wonderfully. Tai has been a great teammate during his time with the Mariners, and hopefully he is recognized as a role-model in the African-American community.

Special Night for 2B’s Howie Kendrick and Robinson Cano

It will be a special night for every player in baseball on Wednesday, but no one feels the significance more than Howie Kendrick. The Dodgers acquired the talented middle infielder from the crosstown Angels this winter, and tonight represents a once in a lifetime moment for the 31-year-old. Kendrick will wear number 42 just like the rest of the players on the field, but he will play Jackie Robinson’s primary position of second base. Kendrick is another shining example in the African-Amercian community, and you can bet he will feel goosebumps when he trots out to Jackie’s old spot wearing his number.

Robinson Cano has been linked to Jackie Robinson since birth. Robby was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, but Cano was named after arguably the greatest man to play the game. Cano plays Robinson’s position, and Robby may be the smoothest middle infielder since Robinson hung up his cleats in 1957. It will be a special night for the Mariners’ second baseman as he hopes to make his namesake proud.

King Felix on Schedule for Saturday

Felix Hernandez had to leave Sunday’s game in Oakland against the A’s due to ankle and quad issues. His status for the weekend appeared to be in doubt early in the week, but following a successful session in the bullpen today, he is set to start Saturday night at Safeco Field against the Texas Rangers. King Felix is the best hurler in the American League, and the prospect of being without his services is nauseating for any M’s fan.

Pick To Click

There are plenty of quality candidates tonight, but I am going to go with starter Taijaun Walker. Prince Tai was electric in Spring Training, allowing just 2 runs in 27 innings. However, he was roughed up badly in his 2015 debut in Oakland. With the significance of tonight’s game weighing on his mid, I expect to see a very focused and motivated young man on the hill. Throw in the proximity to his hometown, and you have a recipe for a dominant outing from the heir to the thrown.

Apr 16, 2014; Rachel Robinson, wife of the late Jackie Robinson at the press conference honoring Nelson Mandela plaque dedication at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman-The Star-Ledger

Final Score Prediction

Obviously, with the M’s losing the opening 2 games, my crystal ball has been malfunctioning this week. If the Dodgers had not won last night, I would have been inclined to root for them tonight with Jackie Robinson’s beautiful wife, Rachel on hand for the festivities. However, Seattle needs this game. It has been a rocky start to the 2015 season, but I am predicting the Mariners will win 4-2 tonight in Chavez Ravine.

Check back with SoDo Mojo following today’s game for a full recap of the Mariners’ victory over the Dodgers’ (fingers crossed!) 

Next: Mariners Game Recap: Slugging M's fall to Dodgers in Extras

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