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4/8: Open Game Thread

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Matt Shoemaker vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Hisashi Iwakuma takes the ball against Matt Shoemaker tonight. On the surface, they're very similar pitchers: both have below average fastballs, plus or better command, and a split-finger that works against lefties and righties.

While Iwakuma was a star in Japan though, Shoemaker went undrafted after posting a 4.5 SO/9 during his junior year at Eastern Michigan. He's added a curve since then but his meteoric rise from EMU to the top of a playoff rotation stems from his ability to get ahead in the count with quality strikes. Outside of the splitter, Shoemaker's arsenal isn't intimidating. A 90 MPH fastball is almost slow in today's game and neither his curve nor his slider is particularly sharp. He also ran a significant platoon split last year: it's a good night for the lefties to do damage early in the count.

On the Mariners side, the primary intrigue is Lloyd McClendon's lineup. Seth Smith is out for the second night in a row with a groin strain, so Rickie Weeks is back in the lineup as the DH and Nelson Cruz will play right field. If Weeks is in the lineup, this is probably the optimal alignment: for as much fuss as we heard about Weeks learning to play the outfield, he didn't get much work out there in spring training.

If it's looking more and more like Cruz will see significant time in the outfield this season, you're not wrong. According to Ryan Divish, McClendon had intended to play Cruz in the field about twice a week, but that's starting to look conservative. If Weeks is the DH, Cruz will start in right against lefties, and it appears that he's also going to be in the field if Smith or Dustin Ackley needs a day off. He played seventy games in the outfield last season and that seems like a pretty reasonable estimate for how often we can expect to see him there in 2015.

Game Info

Time: 7:10 PM
TV: ROOT Sports, Radio: 710 ESPN, Online: MLB.tv

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<h3>Today's Lineups</h3>

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<th align="left">LOS ANGELES ANGELS</th>

<th align="left">SEATTLE MARINERS</th>

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<tr><td class="td-last td-name">Kole Calhoun - RF</td><td class="td-first td-name">Austin Jackson - CF</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Mike Trout - CF</td><td class="td-first td-name">Dustin Ackley - LF</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Albert Pujols - 1B</td><td class="td-first td-name">Robinson Cano - 2B</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Matt Joyce - DH</td><td class="td-first td-name">Nelson Cruz - RF</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">David Freese - 3B</td><td class="td-first td-name">Kyle Seager - 3B</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Erick Aybar - SS</td><td class="td-first td-name">Rickie Weeks - DH</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Chris Iannetta - C</td><td class="td-first td-name">Logan Morrison - 1B</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Efren Navarro - LF</td><td class="td-first td-name">Mike Zunino - C</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Johnny Giavotella - 2B</td><td class="td-first td-name">Brad Miller - SS</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name"></td><td class="td-first td-name"></td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Matt Shoemaker - RHP</td><td class="td-first td-name">Hisashi Iwakuma - RHP</td></tr></tbody>

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