Well, at least we aren't analyzing, re-analyzing and over-analyzing the competition for the starting rotation. Hisashi Iwakuma will make the start today. He has looked very strong this spring. A year ago at this time, he was still recovering from a shoulder injury. It would take him four and five days to recover from throwing a few innings - limiting his throwing in between starts. This spring he's on a normal regimen. His arm strength is up and his sinker is down. He faces a line-up full of A's regulars today.
No Franklin Gutierrez in the line-up, I doubt we see him play back-to-back games until next week.
There seems to be some consternation about Mariners manager Eric Wedge saying he could bat Dustin Ackley seventh or eighth in line-up to start the season. I don't think it's a bad thing. This isn't based off the spring statistics. Ackley is hitting .292 with a .346 on-base percentage. Those numbers are respectable - albeit spring numbers. But in those 24 at-bats, Ackley is still clearly looking for the timing with his swing changes. He's had games where he's looked better and games where he is clearly lost. He has one extra base-hit this spring and hasn't really squared the ball up as much as expected. It's coming along, but it's far from finished. So to bat him lower in the line-up is far from an indictment. There's also no decree that it's permanent. I seem to recall Wedge using an assortment of line-ups last season - 142 to be exact.
I don't know. I tend to not get too worked up over things like this. Ackley isn't exactly a prototypical lead-off hitter. The Mariners don't really have one. So trying Franklin Gutierrez there isn't the worst thing in the world. I've to come to think that whole emphasis on where someone is in the line-up is a bit overrated. Feel free to disagree with me on any or all of this because I'm not certain I'm right or wrong or even coherent.
GAME NOTES ... 03.18.13 ST SEA Notes