Nothing like a clean sweep of the Rockies to put some wind back in Mariner fandom’s sails! April baseball is always so funny to me: no matter how grizzled of a fan you are, it can be nearly impossible to avoid succumbing to small sample size theater over the first month of the year. What felt like drain circling not even a fortnight ago has turned into that familiar cautious optimism, but tonight will be a big test, with the M’s facing off against 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes and his Brewers, who have gotten off to a fast start in 2023.
Aside from it being Cooper Hummel’s turn in the DH spot, Seattle’s lineup looks pretty similar to what they’ve been running out the last few days. Maybe facing his old team is what Kolten Wong needs to start climbing out of his slump? We’ll see.
We also had a pair of ~expected roster moves today: Marco Gonzales has returned from paternity leave, and Sam Haggerty has been placed on the 7-day IL, retroactive to Saturday. It’s a bummer timing-wise for the Swaggy Ham, who’s gotten off to a bit of a slow start at the plate, but this should open the door for José Caballero to show what he can do at the big league level. At the very least, Caballero should start on Wednesday against southpaw Eric Lauer.
News and notes from Scott Servais’s pregame presser:
- Servais is excited to play against the Brewers, who were the team of choice for a young cheesehead Servais growing up in Wisconsin.
- With facing Burnes’ cutter, Servais notes how often that ball is put on the ground and how important it will be for the Mariners hitters to get the ball into the air to find success, noting that’s how teams have found success against him.
- Dylan Moore was taking light infield practice with Perry Hill today and should join the Rainiers in Tacoma this week for a rehab assignment, weather permitting.
Tonight’s game info:
First pitch tonight is at 6:40pm PDT. You can tune in via all the usual suspects (ROOT Sports NW or MLB.tv for out-of-market viewers for television, and 710 Seattle Sports or MLB.com for radio), but if you’re thinking of making a last-minute jaunt to the park, tonight is a Value Game, with tickets starting at $10/$20/$30 for bleacher, 100 level, or Terrace Club seats respectively. You can also trawl third-party services such as Gametime for a slight discount - after literally just checking, I spied a spot in Section 122 for $16 after fees. Enticing!
Today in Mariners history:
- 1997: Ken Griffey, Jr. ties his own club record with his eighth home run of April, a two-run blast in an 8-6 victory over Detroit. Griffey would bash five more dingers before the calendar flipped to May.
- 2012: The Mariners recorded the 25,000th run (Justin Smoak) and 50,000th hit (Kyle Seager) in a 9-8 loss to Cleveland. Despite Smoak recording a career-best four hits and Brendan Ryan notching a career-best four walks, a seven-run top of the fifth proved to be the M’s undoing, as they let an 8-1 lead evaporate. Rats!
- 2016: Hisashi Iwakuma made his 100th career start with the M’s, joining Hideo Nomo, Hiroki Kuroda, Tomo Ohka, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Masato Yoshii, and Kazuhisa Ishii as Japanese-born pitchers to make at least 100 starts in MLB. Kuma went seven innings at Yankee Stadium, allowing four runs over eight hits, walking two and striking out three as he took the loss in a 4-3 defeat.