Mariners Game Notes: Seth Smith Back in Leadoff Spot


The Seattle Mariners (10-11) are in Houston on Thursday night to take on the Astros (14-7)  in the opener of a 4-game weekend series. The M’s have an opportunity to move into a tie for the divison lead if they are able to sweep the Astros. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 pm PT at Minute Maid Park in Houston. James Paxton (0-2, 6.86 ERA) will hope to put his recent struggles behind him when he toes the rubber for Seattle tonight. Veteran right-hander Scott Feldman (2-2, 4.81 ERA) will be on the hill for the Astros in the series opener. Root Sports Northwest will carry the game live, and subscribers can watch on connected devices.

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The Mariners are currently tied with the Los Angeles Angels for second place in the American League West. With last night’s win, Seattle is trailing the division leading Houston Astros by 4.0 games.

M’s Skipper Lloyd McClendon and Astros boss A.J. Hinch have released the following lineups for tonight’s game:

Kyle Seager was not in the Mariners starting lineup for the first time in nearly a year last night in Arlington, but he is hitting 5th and playing third base Thursday night for Seattle. Logan Morrison contributed 4 hits and 2 RBI’s in last night’s victory, and he is hitting 6th tonight for the Mariners. Brad Miller has been bumped up to the number 7 spot in the M’s lineup after hitting .281 with 1 home run and 7 RBI’s across 64 at bats in 2015.

Seth Smith Back in Leadoff Spot

The top of the M’s lineup has seen a number of different names over the past couple weeks. McClendon employed veteran right fielder Seth Smith as the Mariners’ leadoff hitter on April 22, and he is once again listed at the top of the lineup card tonight. Smith’s .347 on base percentage should translate well to the leadoff role, but his speed is not going to scare anybody. Austin Jackson has put together a solid season thus far, and I believe Seattle is at their best with AJ hitting leadoff.

Pick to Click

Apr 13, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners starter James Paxton (65) delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers in an interleague game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros are one of the hottest teams in baseball, and James Paxton should have his hands full tonight against a very potent lineup. Pax-Man has struggled mightily this season, and he laboured through 4.2 innings against the Twins in his last outing. Paxton only surrendered 1 run to the Twinkies, but it required 107 pitches to retire 14 hitters. James Paxton is my pick to click tonight in Houston. The Ladner, BC product has proven in the past to be an effective starter for the M’s, and I think the powerful southpaw will turn his season around tonight. The M’s have received strong performances from their starting pitchers recently, and hopefully Paton is able to feed off his fellow hurlers’ success. I hope to see Pax-Man pitch 7 innings of 2 run ball while striking out 7 in the series opener with the Astros.

Final Score Prediction

The Astros enter tonight’s game riding a 6-game winning streak, but they have a losing record at home in 2015. The M’s have a chance to get back to .500 with a win tonight after sweeping the Texas Rangers earlier this week in Arlington. If James Paxton can pitch effectively, I anticipate the Mariners winning the opener. Scott Feldman is not a scary matchup for Seattle hitters, and I would not be surprise to see the M’s hang a crooked number on Feldman tonight. It won’t be easy, but I predict Seattle will win 5-2 on Thursday night.

Next: Mariners Analysis: Pitching Staff Starting to Come Around

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