Mariners Insider Blog

UPDATED: Brendan Ryan batting lead-off, Chone Figgins gets a rare start for the Mariners

The Mariners are going with an interesting lineup today as Brendan Ryan and his .182 batting average and his .284 on-base percentage will hit lead-off. Dustin Ackley, who has had a solid few games at the lead-off spot, has the day off.

Manager Eric Wedge talked about he dramatic splits against all-star lefthander Matt Harrison. Left-handed hitters are hitting just .178 against him this year, while right-handers are hitting .291. After having quality at-bats the last few games, Wedge didn't want to set Ackley's improvement back by having him have to face Harrison.

"We got a tough lefty with extreme splits," Wedge said. "I feel like Ackley's swing is definitely heading in the right direction. it's been a tough matchup against this kid, so I didn't want to disturb anything with that. I thought it was a good day to get Ackley a day off and let him sit on some good swings."

It does show how committed Wedge is to keeping Ichiro at the No. 2 spot to move Ryan up to leadoff.

"I wanted a right-hander to lead-off against this guy," Wedge said. "We have Figgins in there, but he hasn't been playing. So we wanted an every day guy there, so Ryan is the guy."

Ryan batted lead-off 40 times in his career. Twenty-two of those came in his best offensive season - 2009 - when he hit . 292 for the Cardinals.  He has a career average of .266 batting lead-off

TNT columnist John McGrath actually lobbied for this opportunity in a column last week. .

From his column ...

4. I want to see shortstop Brendan Ryan auditioned as a leadoff hitter. Sure, the offensive numbers are abominable, but over the past month his on-base percentage is .348.

Ryan never has batted No. 1 in Seattle. When he was with the Cardinals, he served as leadoff hitter in 40 games, batting .364. A small sample size – 12-for-33, with seven walks – but an impressive one.

Ryan can run, and he can coax a walk, and if he manages to flourish in the leadoff role, he’ll give the Mariners reason to re-sign him after his contract expires in October. That last thought is personal: There is nothing I enjoy at Safeco Field more than watching Ryan make crazy plays at shortstop. Mariners (37-52)

  • 26 Brendan Ryan SS
  • 51 Ichiro Suzuki (L) RF
  • 33 Casper Wells LF
  • 63 Jesus Montero DH
  • 17 Justin Smoak (S) 1B
  • 15 Kyle Seager (L) 2B
  • 30 Miguel Olivo C
  • 55 Michael Saunders (L) CF
  • 9 Chone Figgins (S) 3B

18 Hisashi Iwakuma RHP

Rangers (53-35)

  • 5 Ian Kinsler 2B
  • 1 Elvis Andrus SS
  • 32 Josh Hamilton (L) DH
  • 29 Adrian Beltre 3B
  • 10 Michael Young 1B
  • 17 Nelson Cruz RF
  • 7 David Murphy (L) LF
  • 8 Yorvit Torrealba C
  • 23 Craig Gentry (L) CF

54 Matt Harrison LHP