The Seattle Mariners would love to close the gap on the Oakland Athletics this week - hey, they'd love to close the gap on anyone - and tonight they send rookie Erasmo Ramirez to the mound in Game One of this three-game series.
No, they have no momentum, having lost two of three games to San Diego and two of three to Arizona last week. Yikes!
The Mariners open up with no hitter other than Ichiro Suzuki on much of a roll, and that's been a problem no matter who is pitching - Hector Noesi, for instance, lost 2-0 the other day and had two of his team's five hits. Yikes!
Ichiro went 11-for-22 on Seattle's six-game trip, and center fielder Franklin Gutierrez quietly went 7-for-19 with two home runs. Otherwise, the numbers were ugly: Jesus Montero was 1-for-14, Dustin Ackley 4-for-21, Justin Smoak 3-for-19,
Tonight, Seattle gets its designated hitter back, and Montero will fill that role against lefty Tommy Milone. Here's the lineup:
Ichiro RFFranklin Gutierrez CFKyle Seager 3BJesus Montero DHJustin Smoak 1BMichael Saunders LFMiguel Olivo CDustin Ackley 2BBrendan Ryan SSErasmo Ramirez RHP