Mariners Game Notes: Brad Miller Hitting Leadoff and Playing SS
The Seattle Mariners (16-20) will play host to the Boston Red Sox (18-19) on Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field in the series finale of their 4-game set. The BoSox have taken 2 of the first 3 games this weekend, but the M’s can split the series with a win today. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 pm from the corner of Edgar and Dave. James Paxton (1-2, 4.31 ERA) has performed much better lately, and he will hope to keep it going for Seattle on Sunday. Young right-hander Steven Wright (1-0, 4.22 ERA) will get the ball for Boston this afternoon.
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Todays’ game can be seen locally on Root Sports Northwest, and MLB.tv subscribers can watch on connected devices.
The Red Sox beat Felix Hernandez and the Mariners on Saturday night, but thankfully the loss did not hurt the M’s positioning in the American League West. Seattle remains in 3rd place, 7.5 games behind the AL West leading Houston Astros.
Mariners’ Skipper Lloyd McClendon and Red Sox manager John Farrell have released the following lineups for today’s series finale:
McClendon has tinkered slightly with his starting 9 today. The most noticeable change is Brad Miller hitting leadoff and starting at shortstop. We will discuss this move more in a moment. Mariners’ fans have been clamoring to see more of Justin Ruggiano, and they will get their opportunity today. Ruggiano is starting in right field for the M’s today. The 33-year-old is hitting just .182 on the season, but his defense has been solid. Rickie Weeks is also getting a chance to play this afternoon. Weeks has been receiving plenty of criticism lately, and rightfully so. He sports a merger .182 batting average, and he has looked less than comfortable defending left field this year.
Brad Miller Playing Shortstop and Hitting Leadoff
Brad Miller must feel like he is bungie jumping these days. One minute he is the odd man out, forced to become the team’s “super utility player,” the next he is hitting at the top of the lineup and back starting at shortstop. Miller has been the M’s best hitter during his current 5-game hitting streak, posting a .471 batting average with 3 doubles, 3 home runs and 4 RBI’s. His competitor, Chris Taylor, has gone just 4 for 31 with 9 strikeouts since being called up from Tacoma last week. Taylor’s defense up the middle has been solid, but unspectacular.
With Austin Jackson due back as early as next week, someone will have to go down to Tacoma. Chris Taylor has to be viewed as the leading candidate at moment. The door to win the shortstop job is once again wide open for Brad Miller.
Pick to Click
May 16, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) fields a ball for an out in the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
The Mariners have been sputtering on offense over the last 4 games. Seattle has failed to score more than 2 runs in a game since Tuesday’s 11-4 victory over the San Diego Padres. In order for the M’s to reach their desired destination in 2015, Robinson Cano has to start contributing. He is hitting .300 over his last 10 games, but the power numbers have not been there. In 156 total plate appearances this season, Robby has hit just 1 home run and driven in a measly 11 RBI’s. The M’s need more out of their number 3 hitter, and I think he will give them more today. Look for Cano to collect at least 2 hits, and double his season home run tally.
Final Score Prediction
This has been an extremely close series. Both teams are sitting in similar positions, as Seattle and Boston have both failed to live up to their lofty expectations so far in 2015. However, there is still plenty of time for the M’s to turn it around and catch the Astros. I hope to see Seattle end their 9-game home stand on a high note. I predict the Mariners will take the series finale with the BoSox by a score of 4-2 on Sunday afternoon.