We have seen Luis Sardinas in left field and first base in the first week of the Mariners’ season. Tonight he gets to play his natural position, shortstop, as Ketel Marte gets a night off after going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts Monday.
“Obviously he didn’t have a great night last night but he’s not going to play all games, 162 games,” Scott Servais said of Marte in his pregame meeting with the media. “That’s why we have other guys to play. I am looking forward to seeing what Luis can bring tonight.”
Marte, who hit .283/.351/.402/.753 in his first two months in the big leagues, is hardly alone in the getting-off-to-a-poor-start category. Experience-wise, however, this is his first start to a big league season and he is learning that starting on opening day can be different from a late-season callup.
“I think it is a lot tougher to hit in April than it is in September,” said Servais. “Pitching is fresh, you don’t run into those clubs that are out of it or have run into injuries. Everybody wants to get off to a great start, especially when you are a young player, but it doesn’t always happen. But Ketel has shown flashes in what he can do. Give him a night off and see where it goes from there.”
Both Marte and Sardinas are guys the Mariners hope can get on base both for the hitters behind them and for the possibility of stealing a base and using their speed on the basepaths. We have yet to see that aspect of the Mariners’ game as they, along with the Tigers, are the only teams in baseball that have yet to record a stolen base.
“We haven’t had a lot of opportunities,” Servais pointed out while acknowledging that it remains an important part of their game. “We haven’t gotten it done yet. We haven’t really gotten into our game yet, how it was all masterfully drawn up to work. You have got to get more guys on base to create those chances.”
Get ’em on, get ’em over, get ’em in. First thing is first.
Norichika Aoki, LF
Luis Sardinas, SS
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nelson Cruz, RF
Kyle Seager, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
Franklin Gutierrez, DH
Dae-Ho Lee, 1B
Leonys Martin, CF
Wade Miley, LHP
• Dae-Ho Lee is just 1 for 9 so far this season but Servais is not about to pull him from the lineup. “I like the way Dae Ho has swung the bat the last few times he has been out there against lefties,” said Servais. “I think he had a very good at-bat against (Jake) Diekman last night.”
• Tonight will be the first start ever at Safeco Field for Wade Miley. After tonight he will have just two parks, Progressive Park in Cleveland and Target Field in Minnesota, to check off his list.
• The Mariners bullpen may be short on firepower but they are not short on strikeouts. The M’s pen is currently tied for second in the American League in strikeouts.