SEATTLE – The San Diego Padres hit considerably better against left-handed pitchers than they do against righties, so the Seattle Mariners might not send Roenis Elias to the mound on Wednesday.
Or maybe they will. Lloyd McClendon says he hasn’t decided yet. And with the Mariners playing only three games in a five-day span, McClendon doesn’t necessarily have to stick to his scheduled rotation.
“San Diego likes to hit off left-handers,” the Mariners manager said. “(It’s) nothing he’s done. Just trying to get the best matchup.”
If Elias doesn’t pitch, the most probable scenario seems to be simply skipping his turn in the rotation and instead giving the ball to right-hander Taijuan Walker, who last pitched on Friday and could therefore pitch Wednesday after a standard four days of rest.
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The Mariners officially list Wednesday’s starter as “to be announced.”
McClendon said he’s been pleased with the recent performance of Seattle’s three left-handed starters – J.A. Happ (3-1 with a 3.29 ERA this season), James Paxton (coming off a seven-inning outing, his strongest of the year) and Elias, who was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on April 26 to replace the injured Hisashi Iwakuma – but that he’d rather not play to the Padres’ strength.
San Diego’s batters are hitting lefties at a .272 clip, compared to .251 against right-handers (though their OPS against lefties is .722, only marginally better than the .711 mark the Padres post against righties).
The only reason we have the option to do this is because of the off days,” McClendon said. “I can move it around and try to get the best matchup we think is possible to give us the best chance to win ballgames.
“And I’m not saying Elias won’t pitch. I’m saying I haven’t made up my mind. We’ll see as the week progresses. But our lefties have done a great job. It has nothing to do with how they’re throwing the ball. It has everything to do with matching up against the club we’re facing.”
TAYLOR’S HAND OK
Chris Taylor’s right hand is “going to be OK,” McClendon said.
Taylor, recalled from Triple-A Tacoma one week ago and inserted as the Mariners’ starting shortstop, jammed his hand into Mark Canha’s cleat as he dove back into first base on a pickoff attempt in the bottom of the sixth inning of Saturday night’s 7-2 win over Oakland.
Taylor stayed in the game, but was scratched from the lineup on Sunday. He underwent x-rays that revealed some swelling and bruising in the knuckle area above his pinky, but is otherwise fine.
“I think it scared him more than anything,” McClendon said. “As quickly as the swelling can get out of there, he should be back in the lineup.”
If Taylor was indeed scared, it was for good reason. He’s had injury issues with his hands before. You’ll recall that he fractured the pinky on his left hand while playing in Tacoma last season, delaying his eventual promotion to the big leagues. Then he broke his right wrist this year during spring training, an injury that forced him to begin the season at Tacoma once he healed.
Taylor, who was competing with Brad Miller at shortstop during spring training before he injured his wrist, is hitting .167 (3-for-18) in five games since joining the club.
The Mariners swept Oakland for the first time since August 2011. … Felix Hernandez’s victory was the 131st of his career, which surpassed Randy Johnson for second on the club’s all-time wins list. Jamie Moyer holds the franchise record with 145.
The Mariners are off Monday before beginning a three-game series against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday (7:10 p.m., Root Sports) at Safeco Field. Left-hander James Paxton (0-2, 5.08 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for the Mariners, with right-hander Ian Kennedy (2-1, 5.03) slated to start for the Padres.
Christian Caple can be reached at email@example.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple