Last night the Mariners bumped Taijuan Walker ahead of Roenis Elias in the rotation. The reasoning was that San Diego's lineup tilted heavily toward the right side, which presented a better matchup for Walker than Elias. So, the Cuban gets to throw today and battle Boston's... very right-handed lineup.
The only lefty that could present Elias with problems is David Ortiz, but the Red Sox long time DH is off to a slow start. While we're still firmly in small sample size territory, I'll be curious to monitor the thirty-nine year old over the course of this series. There just aren't a lot of good signs in his stat profile right now: his walks are slightly down, his strikeouts slightly up. He's not pulling the ball as often as he usually does and he's not hitting for much power either. I'm trying REALLY hard to not pay too much attention to Fangraphs' hard and soft contact ratios, but Ortiz's numbers here can't be encouraging, right?
It could all be nothing. This could just be a slump and he might wake up tomorrow and turn into vintage David Ortiz. I wouldn't be shocked. I'm just a little sensitive when I notice someone at his age get off to a very slow start.
Opposing Elias on the mound is twenty-six year old Joe Kelly, a veteran who came over from St. Louis last July in exchange for John Lackey (the recently demoted Allen Craig was also part of the deal). Capable of reaching the high-90's with his fastball, Kelly seems like a guy who should strike out more hitters than he does. As a bad command righty though, his stuff plays down, and he's been hit hard this season in games when he hasn't been able to locate well. He certainly can't count on his defense to bail him out if he isn't sharp.
|BOSTON RED SOX||SEATTLE MARINERS|
|Mookie Betts - CF||Seth Smith - RF|
|Dustin Pedroia - 2B||Brad Miller - LF|
|David Ortiz - DH||Robinson Cano - 2B|
|Hanley Ramirez - LF||Nelson Cruz - DH|
|Mike Napoli - 1B||Kyle Seager - 3B|
|Shane Victorino - RF||Logan Morrison - 1B|
|Brock Holt - 3B||Mike Zunino - C|
|Xander Bogaerts - SS||Dustin Ackley - CF|
|Blake Swihart - C||Chris Taylor - SS|
|Joe Kelly - RHP||Roenis Elias - LHP|
Mariners vs. Red Sox, 7:10 PM PST
Radio: 710 ESPN
Online: MLB.tv. Unless you're near Washington or Massachusetts, you hapless college student!