ANAHEIM, calif. – Traditionally, baseball teams put their best hitter in the third spot of their batting order, and the Seattle Mariners this season have put Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Adam Kennedy, Ryan Langerhans and Justin Smoak in that spot.
While that says a great deal about the Mariners’ offense, so does this – Dustin Ackley batted third Friday, getting there a full 21/2 weeks into his big-league career.
“When we do create opportunities to score, we want to have the right guy up there,” manager Eric Wedge said. “We’re looking at this, so let’s just see how it plays out. We’ve been trying to find someone to fill that role.”
How comfortable is Wedge with his rookie second baseman hitting third?
“I like it when he’s coming to home plate,” Wedge said. “He’s aggressive, he has good instincts, gives you good at-bats.”
Kennedy got the night off, Olivo was moved to cleanup and Smoak batted fifth.
It was Wedge’s 81st lineup in 89 games. Good bet it won’t be his last.
Can we get a little sympathy for Doug Fister?
The right-hander’s run support this season – 2.15 per game – is the worst for any starting pitcher in a single season sine 1972.
If that’s not bad enough, consider this: Fister’s record (3-10) is the worst in franchise history for a pitcher with an earned-run average under 3.50. Fister’s is 3.09.
How long can the Mariners stay with struggling rookie outfielder Carlos Peguero, who has struck out 50 times in 137 at-bats this season?
Wedge gave the powerful left-handed hitter the night off Friday.
“The last two, three games he’s been out of control, too amped up at the plate,” Wedge said. “We just want him to have a day off.”
In 44 games, Peguero has hit six home runs and has 19 RBI. He’s batting .190, and has gone 0-for-11 on this trip.
Though his team is under .500, closer Brandon League began the night with 23 saves – the third highest pre-All-Star break total in Mariners history. … Though Franklin Gutierrez continues to struggle at the plate (.190), he has an errorless streak in center field that has reached 235 consecutive games. … Jack Wilson hasn’t appeared in the last seven games. … It’s a thought: Ichiro has been used as the designated hitter four times in 2011 and 30 times in his career. His batting average as a DH is .374. … All managers are different, and some would never go against the stats. Against starting pitcher Ervin Santana, Wedge seemed to – batting Olivo fourth in the lineup despite a career .125 average against Santana. … Justin Smoak began the game hitting .238 - .287 right-handed, .216 left-handed. Eight of his 12 home runs, however, came batting lefty.
Seattle plays at Anaheim, a 6:05 p.m. game today that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Michael Pineda (8-5, 2.58 ERA) vs. Joel Piñeiro (4-3, 3.99).