Two straight series wins has the Mariners prepped for a rather meaningful three-game series with their northern rivals — the Toronto Blue Jays. Both teams enter Monday’s contest 1.5 games back of the Royals in the race for the second wild card in the American League.
The Mariners bumped their rotation back a day to situate their winningest starters to each pitch against the Blue Jays, beginning with Felix Hernandez Monday. Seattle expects a crowd in excess of 40,000 with the first 30,000 attendees receiving “K towels” to wave. It will be one of the best environments the Mariners have played amidst of at Safeco Field. One that general manager said is what baseball is all about.
Zduriencik explained the specific emotion he will feel Monday during an interview with Brock Huard and Mike Salk on 710 ESPN Seattle earlier in the day.
“I think pride,” Zduriencik said. “I think it will be a prideful moment for all of us . . . It’ll be a lot of fun.”
James Jones was recalled from Class AAA to take the 25-man roster spot vacated by Erasmo Ramirez who was optioned to Tacoma postgame. Most were expecting OF Michael Saunders to return after a four-game minor-league rehab stint has seen him hit 5-for-12 with seven walks. However, Saunders flew home Monday to be with his wife who is due to give birth.
“Michael’s getting real close,” McClendon said. “(But,) that will push him back a few days.”
The expectation is for Jones to fill in as needed in a defensive replacement, pinch-runner role. With Austin Jackson entrenched as the center fielder now, Jones will play either corner outfield spot according to McClendon.
“Late in the games, he’ll be able to steal some bases for us, but I doubt if he’ll get a lot of playing time,” McClendon said.
1. Austin Jackson (L) cf
2. Dustin Ackley (L) lf
3. Robinson Cano (L) 2b
4. Kendrys Morales (s) dh
5. Kyle Seager (L) 3b
6. Mike Zunino c
7. Logan Morrison (L) 1b
8. Endy Chavez (L) rf
9. Brad Miller (L) ss
RHP Felix Hernandez (12-3, 1.97 ERA, 189 ERA+)
Blue Jays (63-56)
1. Munenori Kawasaki ss
2. Melky Cabrera dh
3. Jose Bautista rf
4. Colby Rasmus cf
5. Dioner Navarro c
6. Danny Valencia 3b
7. Juan Francisco 1b
8. Steve Tolleson 2b
9. Anthony Gose lf
RHP Drew Hutchison (8-9, 4.39 ERA, 92 ERA+)