The high-flying Mariners have come crashing back to Earth lately, and are facing back-to-back series sweeps if they can’t pull out a win today. That’s a tall order with Carlos Carrasco on the mound facing off against rookie Erik Swanson making his first-ever MLB start.
Mariners with a lineup change. Mitch Haniger is sick, so Mallex Smith back in CF and leading off. First pitch 3:40 p.m. at T-Mobile for series finale. pic.twitter.com/y0sSxqDN4q— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) April 17, 2019
Also, Mitch Haniger has a sinus infection (stars they’re just like us) so the Mariners will be without one of their better hitters today, and we get to see the Jay Bruce Outfield Experiment continue along with Edwing flapping about first base.
These Mariners are starting to look a little more like we thought they might before the season started: moments of offensive brilliance sandwiched between pummelings from superior pitching staffs and bullpen meltdowns. The most important thing today will be watching how Swanson acquits himself against an MLB lineup. The brief spring start he made against the Dodgers featured a fairly prospect-laden lineup, although he did perform well against some top Dodgers prospects, including Gavin Lux and Alex Verdugo (who is technically no longer a prospect, I guess), as well as seasoned MLBers like Cody Bellinger, whom he held hitless, and David Freese. Kiké Hernández did tag him for two home runs, one on an ill-advised slider, but those were the only two runs Swanson gave up against his four strikeouts. If you’re curious about Swanson’s arsenal and want to read a more in-depth scouting report, I heartily recommend reading John’s piece on him from this off-season.
John has been a big Swanson booster from the day he got traded, while I have been slower to warm to the low-ceiling/high-floor profile. After watching Swanson pitch a few outings, though, I have to say it’s pretty refreshing to watch a guy who’s in the zone or close to it on virtually every pitch, and who is a fast worker [eyes Cory Gearrin unblinkingly]. I’m a little worried about Swanson the strike-thrower in front of Seattle’s famously wobbly defense, especially without steady hand Mitch Haniger out there. Hopefully his teammates will pitch in to make Swanson’s MLB debut a memorable one—in a positive way, get away from me with that monkey paw.
Game time: 3:40 PM, because Cleveland, I guess?
Game available on: ROOT, 710 ESPN, MLB.tv, etc.