Today the Mariners open up a three-game set with the Rangers that curiously features no day games. It also doesn’t feature Dane Dunning, who was originally going to start this game, but instead had season-ending hip surgery. In his place is the relatively unknown quantity of RHP Jesus Tinoco opening for RHP Tyson Miller. We didn’t write much about Tinoco in the series preview, focusing instead on Miller, but Tinoco can struggle to throw strikes, so it would behoove the Mariners to jump on him early and try to work some counts against him. The Guardians failed to do that in Tinoco’s last opener start, as he threw a hitless 1.2 innings against them with a strikeout and no walks, and you won’t be surprised to hear that although the Angels got a hit off him the appearance before, he also recorded three strikeouts in just 1.2 innings. Once Tinoco runs out of gas, the ball will be handed over to Miller, who has less impressive stuff but a deep pitch repertoire of a career Quad-A pitcher, which can often be Mariners Hitters Kryptonite. Nevertheless, FanGraphs gives Seattle the best odds of the series to win this game, at a whopping 64%.
News and Notes from Scott Servais’s pre-game comments:
- As you’ve likely noticed, Eugenio Suárez is back! According to Scott, there are no limitations to what he’s able to do with the bat. He took BP, hit off the sim machine, and everything looked great, although Servais noted that it’s reasonable to expect it to take a bit for Suárez to get his timing back after extended time away. He’s going through the defensive warm-ups and “flipping” balls in the infield drills, but he still can’t throw without discomfort, which makes sense since he is missing a fingertip. Eugenio did apparently crush a ball during BP that got everybody’s attention, so that seems like a good sign.
Suarez’s last swing in batting practice goes upper tank, three rows deep, above the visitors pen.— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) September 27, 2022
- In a corresponding move, Taylor Trammell has been optioned to Tacoma. The Rainiers season technically ends this Wednesday, but there will be what Servais called a “stay-hot group” working out at the team complex in Arizona in case they’re needed, and Trammell will be part of that group.
- Servais opened his pre-game comments with a hearty “it feels GREAT to be back in Seattle!”
- The first question was, “How easy is it to put behind that road trip?” Servais: “It’s really easy! Next question!”
- Servais said this year is a “different feeling” than last year, when the team got so hot at the end of the season and everyone jumped on the Mariners bandwagon. He said that was a great experience and a preview to show “what baseball could be like in Seattle,” but compared to this year, they’ve had a stronger year and have created the opportunity to be in this position.
- Ryan Divish asked if there was anything going on with Mitch Haniger that Servais has seen, mechanically. Servais said we’ve seen Mitch Haniger enough that when things get not going well, he’s quick to fix it, and pointed out that he made an adjustment in Sunday’s game by opening up more of the field, specifically right field, to himself. “He knows himself very well,” said Servais, acknowledging he had searching for it. You can read more about Haniger’s struggles and why I’m confident in a bounceback for him here.
- Cal Raleigh’s thumb injury is identical to one Servais has had before, so he knows the pain his young catcher is experiencing. The key for Cal will be catching everything right in the pocket of the glove, which will minimize the amount of strain on that hurting thumb—like the pitch he caught from Matt Brash, a tricky pitcher to catch with ten working fingers. Servais noted that Cal wanted to stay in Sunday’s game, but with the off-day on Monday they opted to shut him down and give him as much of a rest as possible. But, Servais acknowledged it’s just an issue he’s going to have to play through until he can stop and have it heal. “We do have a couple guys on our team I’d put in the ‘extremely tough mentally’ bucket, and he’s one of them.” Everyone send good thoughts to Cal. (Also—guesses on who the other might be?)
- Julio is feeling “good” and will be likely be picking up baseball activity later this week—maybe Friday, says Servais. Or says Julio.
Julio Rodriguez was smiling in the clubhouse earlier. Servais says he's feeling better and targeting Friday as the day to pick up baseball activity.— Jen Mueller (@JenTalksSports) September 27, 2022
- When asked about the biggest difference he sees in Jarred Kelenic during this stint with the big-league club, Servais said: “He’s breathing. Like, literally. He’s much calmer. He’s in control in the batter’s box. Even when he swings at a pitch that was out of the zone, or he gets fooled on a pitch, it doesn’t derail him the rest of the at-bat. That’s the difference I’ve seen.” Scott also notes that Jarred is at his best when he is singularly focused on one goal, and currently that singular focus is on helping the Mariners win games, and it’s helping him simplify and wash away bad at-bats, which is something new and good for Jarred.
Today’s Game info:
- Game time: 6:40 PT
- Radio: Seattle Sports 710 AM
- TV: ROOT Sports NW
- Streaming: MLB TV (out-of-area); fuboTV (in-area); SlingTV