This will be the 135th different line-up for Eric Wedge this season. Does that mean anything really other than they used a lot of line-ups? Well, It means they've had some injuries, used some platoons and a lot of roster turnover. Also when you aren't very good, you have lots of line-ups. You tend to experiment and try different combinations. And the Mariners aren't very good. Is having the same line-up most days a good thing? Yes, when you have good, consistent players. It's easy for Jim Leyland to write out the top five guys in his line-up on most days. He's used 101 different lineups this season. The Mariners are not in that situation.
Obviously, it looks like a very good pitching match-up tonight.
"We've been making pitchers work lately hopefully we can do the same with Verlander, only cash in a little more tonight," Wedge said.
The Mariners rank sixth in pitches per plate appearance at 3.90.
So what should the Mariners try to do with Verlander?
"You want to try and get to him early that's been kind of been the 'MO' with him," Wedge said. "But he has so many weapons, it depends on what is best for him on that particular day. Regardless of how we start out, we are going to have to make adjustments because you know he's going to."
Raul Ibanez's chase for his 300th homer and Ted Williams' record is sort of put on hold. He has the night off, but I would expect to see him used as a pinch hitter late in the game.
In the last month, you are seeing plenty of mistakes on the field. Last night, Nick Franklin didn't hustle after a ball following a rundown, which allowed Austin Jackson t0 take an extra base.
"It's awareness," Wedge said. "He felt like the guy was already going to be there, but he really wasn't. You can't assume that. You have to get on the baseball, get your head up and take a peak. Just one of those plays he'll learn from."
Abraham Almonte had a wild throw home last night. While he has a very strong throwing arm, Almonte's desire to throw someone out has made his throws erratic. He's got a little scatter gun as my coach used to say.
"He gets a little geared up and is a max effort guy," Wedge said. "His feet get a little ahead of himself sometimes. Like yesterday, it looked like he took an extra step or two. It's just about reeling it in and getting it under control."
Wedge anticipated these mistakes when all these young players were called up. Why? Because they had no big league experience.
"So many things have happened here when you talk about fundamentals," Wedge said. "Whether it be the kids coming up quick a couple years ago, or last year or even this year, those are things you are going to have to live with - some of those mistakes until they figure it out. If you don't have enough time in the minor leagues, then you have to finish them off up here."
If it seems like this is happening every year, it's because it has.
"We've got 8 or 9 players that made their major league debut this year," Wedge said. "That's quite a bit. And we have like 30 some in three years. When you are breaking in that many young players, you are going to have young mistakes. We've got 20 some players with less than years experience coming into this season. That's a big number. So you have to be patient and work through. It's a rebuild. It's what it was when I got here."
It's wearing on Wedge though having so many young players each season.
"It's tough," he said. "It is tough. When you sign up for a rebuild, you know you are going to have tough days. You aren't going to see the wins that you'd like to see right away. If you are going to do it the right way, you have to stick with it. If you don't, they pull the plug on you and you start all over again. How's that worked out for them? You have to stick with something at some point in time. We've got some young players here that can play. They just aren't the players they are going to be yet. It takes some time."