Mariners vs. Rays 5.14.14 Lineup, Pre-game Notes: Get out of town with a series win

It was a disappointing ninth-inning loss for the Seattle Mariners Tuesday night. Hisashi Iwakuma pitched eight brilliant scoreless innings which allowed Seattle’s first-inning run off of Rays’ starter David Price to hold up.

However, apparently Iwakuma “was out of gas” according to Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon who did not appreciate being second guessed afterwards.

“I’m not going to defend that all year,” McClendon said. “First of all, I got one of the best closers in the game and this guy is going to save a bunch of games for us, it just didn’t go his way tonight. That’s baseball, it happens.

“And I know everybody’s upset, I’m upset. They ought to boo me, hell, I’m upset too. But, that’s the way it goes. We’ll pick up the pieces and get ready for (Wednesday).”

As for Wednesday, the Mariners have Brandon Maurer lined up to face the Rays’ RHP Jake Odorizzi (1-3, 5.79). It’s an important get-away game in that not only will a win mean a 2-1 series win against the Rays, it means a 4-3 winning homestand and that Seattle will at least keep pace with Oakland.

Here is the M’s lineup to face Odorizzi:

Mariners (20-19)

1. James Jones (L) cf

2. Stefen Romero rf

3. Robinson Cano (L) 2b

4. Corey Hart dh

5. Justin Smoak (s) 1b

6. Kyle Seager (L) 3b

7. Dustin Ackley (L) lf

8. John Buck c

9. Brad Miller (L) ss

RHP Brandon Maurer

In other news Wednesday, both rookie pitchers James Paxton and Taijuan Walker threw bullpens in the morning as they continue to progress towards an eventual return to the M’s rotation.

Walker finished early enough to be talked to afterwards. Walker said he threw a 40 pitch bullpen which included fastballs, cutters and curveballs at about 80, 85 percent.

“It was a really good bullpen today . . . The fastball location was really good today. I think that was the biggest (thing),” Walker said. “Then with the offspeed (pitches) just keeping the same arm speed the whole time.”

Walker will accompany the team (as will Paxton) on the short two-city road trip that takes the team to Minnesota and Texas over the next seven days. In that span, he will throw one more bullpen and then a simulated game. If all goes well, he will head on a minor-league rehab assignment.

Paxton is one bullpen ahead of Walker, so that he means he’s about three days ahead of his pace. Paxton will throw a simulated game this weekend (Logan Morrison will be one of the hitters as he works his way back as well) and perhaps head out on a rehab assignment after that.

“Well, I don’t have an exact schedule (for Paxton), but I can tell you he’s close,” McClendon said.

So some good news on the Mariners front there. Now if the team can just get Miller to get going . . .

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned,” McClendon said. “He’s struggling right now, we’re trying to get him out of it.”

McClendon was working with Miller during batting practice yesterday. As he said, he was just trying to get him focused on the strike zone. McClendon knows he can say everything he knows, right now it’s up to Miller.

“Look right now, everybody’s got suggestions, everybody wants to help,” McClendon said. “But in the end, he’s got to clear his mind, get his focus and do what he does best.”

Meanwhile, Logan Morrison has been running and taking batting practice this week. He will participate in the simulated games over the road trip and then head out on a minor-league rehab assignment.

Is he close to returning?

“Let’s just say this: He’s going to take full advantage of the rehab assignment. He was hitting .150 when he got hurt. It’s not like he was hitting .350. He needs to get some at bats to get going.

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