Mariners Game Notes: Nelson Cruz in the M’s Lineup

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The Seattle Mariners (32-39) will play host to the Kansas City Royals (40-27) on Tuesday night at Safeco Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 pm from the corner of Edgar & Dave. Mike Montgomery (1-2, 2.73 ERA) will be charged with evening the series tonight for the M’s. The Royals will turn to veteran righty Jeremy Guthrie (5-4, 5.55 ERA) on Tuesday. Root Sports Northwest will carry the game live locally, and MLB.tv subscribers can watch worldwide on connected devices.

The Mariners missed an opportunity to gain a game on the American league West leading Houston Astros last night. Seattle remains in 4th place in the AL West, 8.5 game back of the Astros.

M’s skipper Lloyd McClendon and Royals’ boss Ned Yost have released the following lineups for tonight’s game:

Nelson Cruz Returns

The Mariners’ superstar exited Monday’s game early with an apparent hamstring issue. It was later revealed that Cruz’s pelvic bone popped out of it’s socket and had to be popped back into place by team trainers. The good news is that the problem does not appear to be serious, and Cruz is back in the M’s lineup tonight. The 34-year-old slugger is having a rough go of it lately, but he still boasts a .313 batting average with 19 home runs and 44 RBI’s in his debut season in the Emerald City. Say what you will about Cruz’s recent performance, but do not question his impact on the Mariners this season.

Edgar Martinez Paying Special Attention to Mike Zunino

The cameras have caught new Mariners’ hitting instructor, Edgar Martinez and Mike Zunino chatting in the dugout numerous times over the past few nights. McClendon addressed the subject earlier this afternoon.

While it is discouraging to hear that Zunino is in such a bad way, it is good to know that Gar is on the case. Both are right-handed hitters, and hopefully the presence of Edgar will help Mike get back on track. Zunino is hitting just .155 with 7 home runs and 15 RBI’s across 63 games in 2015. People are hard on the 24-year-old backstop, but fans have to remember that he has less than 400 career at bats in the minor leagues.

Pick to Click

The M’s were able to push across just 1 run last night on 2 hits, but I am hoping Seattle is able to tee off on Jeremy Guthrie tonight. Dustin Ackley is making his first start since June 18th, and I am going with the Ack-Attack as my pick to click on Tuesday night. Despite the fact he has been playing like Dustin Lackley in 2015, the 27-year-old has great number during his career against Guthrie. Across 10 at bats against the veteran right-hander, Ackley is hitting .600 with 3 doubles, 2 home runs and 6 RBI’s. It seems crazy to be optimistic about a .189 hitter, but I have high hopes for Ackley tonight at Safeco Field.

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Final Score Prediction

Mike Montgomery was roughed up in his last outing for Seattle, but he has been a huge asset in the M’s starting rotation since his call-up in early June. Monty enters tonight’s game with a 1-1 record and an ERA of 2.73 across his first 26.1 innings in the Major Leagues. His minor league numbers suggest he is pitching over his head right now, but I expect another strong outing tonight against the Royals. If the M’s offense can back Montgomery up, I see no reason why Seattle cannot even the series at 1. I predict the Mariners will win 5-3 on Tuesday night at Safeco Field.

Next: Mariners Minor League Review: Who's Hot & Who's Not

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