Mariners Insider Blog

Watchpoints: With MLB Draft grabbing spotlight, Mariners seek to rebound

The Mariners’ traveling party paired off and dressed as twins for Sunday’s flight to Minneapolis.
The Mariners’ traveling party paired off and dressed as twins for Sunday’s flight to Minneapolis. Seattle Mariners on twitter

While the Mariners open a four-game road series Monday against the Minnesota Twins, much of the day’s attention, particularly here in the Twin Cities, is on the MLB Draft.

The Twins have the first overall selection and, even late Monday morning, still appeared to be weighing various options. The Mariners pick 17th.

The draft consists of 40 rounds and runs through Wednesday. The first two rounds and the two competitive-balance rounds take place on Monday; rounds three through 10 are Tuesday; and rounds 11 through 40 are Wednesday.

Selections begin Monday at 4 p.m. Pacific time. The Mariners should make their first pick around 5:30 p.m. and, by then, their series opener against the Twins, weather permitting, will be under way.

The Mariners won two of three against the Twins when the clubs met last week at Safeco Field. The Twins then won two of three at San Francisco and returned home with a 1 1/2-game lead in the American League Central Division.

Minnesota is 32-27, which is a remarkable turnaround for a club that earned the top pick in the draft by losing 103 games a year ago.

The Mariners just completed an 11-game homestand by losing three of their last four games after a 6-1 start. They twice climbed back to .500 on their homestand but are 31-33 as they arrive at Target Field.

The road has been a rough place for the Mariners. They opened the season with a 1-6 stumble through Houston and Los Angeles and are just 11-20 away from home.

Manager Scott Servais sought to loosen the mood on Sunday’s trip to Minneapolis by having the entire traveling party pair off and dress as twins. Why not? As noted, the real Twins are in first place.

Other watchpoints:

***The pitching matchup Monday is a rematch from June 7: right-hander Yovani Gallardo (2-6 with a 6.26 ERA) against Twins lefty Adalberto Mejia (1-1, 4.18). The game starts at 5:10 p.m. Pacific time and can be seen on Root Sports Northwest.

***Mejia (three runs in five innings) outpitched Gallardo (five runs in seven innings) the last time out before the Mariners rallied for a 6-5 victory on Mike Zunino’s two-run walk-off homer against closer Brandon Kintzler.

***The latest mock draft from Baseball America projects the Twins will take Louisville pitcher/first baseman Brendan McKay with the first pick in the draft. It projects the Mariners taking Oregon lefty David Peterson.

*Outfielder Kyle Lewis, the Mariners’ top pick in the 2016 draft, returned to action Sunday by playing four innings at Hi-A Modesto. He spent nearly a year in rehab after suffering a major knee injury last July at Short-A Everett.

***Ben Gamel remained hot Sunday when he switched to left field to accommodate the return of right fielder Mitch Haniger from the disabled list. Gamel went 3-for-4 and is batting .408 (22-for-54) in his last 13 games.

***Nelson Cruz went 2-for-4 in Sunday’s loss to Toronto and has reached base safely at least once in 12 straight games. He is batting .368 (14-for-38) in that span.

***Center fielder Jarrod Dyson is also heating up. He went 1-for-2 on Sunday and is batting .357 (10-for-28) in his last 10 games. His average is up to .238.

***The Mariners are 13-13 at Target Field since the stadium opened in 2010. They hold a 223-214-1 advantage in the all-time series.

TIME CAPSULE

It was 25 years ago Monday — June 12, 1992 — that Harold Reynolds became the second player in franchise history to get 1,000 hits with a single to center in the first inning against Milwaukee’s Jaime Navarro at the Kingdome.

Reynolds joined Alvin Davis at the time as the only Mariners with 1,000 career hits. Reynolds currently eighth on the franchise’s all-time list with 1,063. The leader is Ichiro Suzuki with 2,533.

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners

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