The Mariners head into Sunday’s final game of the series with Oakland with a different lineup.
Manager Eric Wedge has moved Kyle Seager into the No. 3 spot and bumped both Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse down a spot to fourth and fifth, respectively.
Here is Wedge on Seager (.287), Morales (.262) and Morse (.220, hitting .120 in May):
“I’m playing around with it a little bit. I still stand by the fact that Morales and Morse are both trying to do too much. They know they’re the guys here. I think that with that, I think sometimes put a little too much pressure on yourself to do too much.
“Both of them are chasing more than they should be chasing. Then you start to try to do a little bit more than you should be trying to do. Sometimes, you’ve just got to lay the bat down and let the next guy try it. They’re not going to come in the zone unless you allow them to.
“Kyle’s a very mature young hitter. I think we’ve seen that.”
Wedge said he thinks Seager can hit in the two, three or five spots. He’s also anticipating Franklin Gutierrez coming back in a couple weeks, which could slide him into the two-hole with Michael Saunders leading off, if Seager is bumped down to third.
“I think with Morales and Morse, they’re the keys,” Wedge said. “They are. Once we figure out where they belong, I think we can work everyone else of that.
“When you bring somebody over here and they’re the guy, they’re the ones, it’s a little bit different than before when you’ve been in that secondary roll. You haven’t had to be that guy. They’re smart enough to know that. (Morales) is going to hit, he’s going to be fine in the end. But, ultimately, we need to be able to count on him every day. It’s just a matter of who works off who better.”
Speaking of Gutierrez, Wedge sounded like his patience has waned. Wedge said he will need to see Gutierrez play every day on a rehab assignment before he rejoins the team. Wedge wants to see back-to-back-to-back full games from Gutierrez to be sure he is ready to go. Gutierrez could be sent on a rehab assignment at the end of this week.
“I’m not looking for him to come back and be just OK to play,” Wedge said. “We’ve done that. It hasn’t worked. When he comes back, he’s got to be ready to go. We’ll let that dictate how long it takes.
“The other way doesn’t work. Hasn’t worked. For three years. He’s going to have to come here and be able to play. I need to see him play every day.”
And, Wedge on Brendan Ryan, who is 2-for-28 hits last 10 games and down to .128 on the season:
“Once we get everybody else going, I think he’ll come along and be better himself. The difference he makes is real. But, he’s not the difference between us being a good offensive club and not being a good offensive club. I think that’s where people put their focus in the wrong direction. He’s not going to be the difference maker. The difference-maker needs to be everybody else. He needs to be a contributor. Where he is a difference-maker is defensively. When you have players who are difference-makers, you keep them. He’s a difference-maker defensively. We need everybody else offensively to do their job and for him to be a contributor.”
Lastly, Oakland left-hander Tommy Milone oddly has better splits against right-handers this season. Righties are hitting .243 against Milone and lefties .296. Milone has a 37:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio against righties this year. In 38 career starts, a much better sample, the numbers are more eve: Lefties hit .268 against Milone and righties .275.
Dustin Ackley is getting a day off today, so that’s a lefty out of the lineup no matter what. The only real spot Wedge could have added a lefty for a righty would be to put Raul Ibanez in for Jason Bay, but that would counter their career splits. Ibanez is hitting .091 vs. lefties this season and .261 for his career. Bay is hitting .344 against lefties this year and .272 in his career.