ARLINGTON, Texas – Eric Wedge knows Dustin Ackley is part of the Seattle Mariners’ future, likes him in the leadoff spot but can also read the numbers.
On Monday, those numbers kept Ackley out of the starting lineup against Texas left-hander Matt Harrison.
“We looked at some individual matchups today and put together the lineup we thought gave us the best chance to win,” Wedge said. “It’s a fine line to walk, but it’s where we’re at right now.”
Wedge and Ackley didn’t talk before the game, but the Seattle infielder wasn’t confused by the lineup.
“That matchup is probably the biggest reason,” Ackley said of sitting. “I haven’t had much success against him. I think he’s one of the more underrated pitchers in the league. He sits mid-90s (mph), has good command, good off-speed stuff.”
Coming off a 3-for-22 performance at home last week, Ackley didn’t figure to get better against a pitcher who owns him – 0-for-15 with a walk. That doesn’t mean he wanted to sit.
“Nobody likes sitting unless you’re tired or it’s September,” Ackley said. “You can’t help the team from the bench, and you sit there thinking how you might help if you were playing.”
Would he ever walk into manager Wedge’s office to discuss sitting?
“If I were confused, I might go in and ask a question,” Ackley said. “I felt great yesterday. I had good at-bats, but didn’t get a hit.
“Against Harrison, I may have had a few hard-hit balls that didn’t fall, but that’s about it.”
“Dustin’s not an unknown hitter any more, teams have scouted him, they have history with him now,” Wedge said. “Sometimes he tries to do too much, sometimes he’s too passive up there.
“That’s all normal. He’s still trying to get it together this year.”
Coach Barry Switzer, who made Oklahoma a perennial college football power – then won a Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys – visited the Mariners before the game.
Wedge and his coaching staff spent time chatting with Switzer, but most players had no idea who he was.
“What position did he play?” one youngster asked.
Two who did know: Veteran Kevin Millwood, 37, and Texas-born Blake Beavan.
Ichiro Suzuki, who’s batted third in every game this season, may get a day off on this trip, Wedge said. No, he hasn’t yet told Ichiro. … For the curious, when Hector Noesi pitched eight innings on Sunday without striking a batter out, he became the 13th pitcher in club history to do so. The last: Carlos Silva in 2008. Sunday was the 37th game in franchise history in which the Mariners did not record a strikeout. … The Mariners have had leads in 16 of their first 29 losses – most in the majors.
Seattle plays in Texas in a 5:05 p.m. (PDT) game today that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Seattle’s Jason Vargas (5-4, 3.39 ERA) vs. Scott Feldman (0-2, 4.66).firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @LarryLarue