June 26, 2011 in Sports

Mariners’ lineup plan put on hold

Geoff Baker Seattle Times
 

SEATTLE – The Mariners attempted to trot out the same batting order Saturday night as they’d used a day earlier. But Justin Smoak was a late scratch, forcing the team to shift Adam Kennedy to first base and insert Chone Figgins at third.

A team spokesman said Smoak was feeling “under the weather” but was available for pinch-hit duty.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge had said before the late scratch that the consecutive lineups – a rarity for the team these days with all the new players up from the minors – was a by-product of some of the positive things he’d seen from certain players behind the scenes in addition to Friday’s game.

“It wasn’t so much what I liked about it,” he said of the lineup. “It’s more about what I feel different individuals are doing. I think that one thing everybody needs to understand is that we’re looking to get everybody going. And everybody is kind of their own story. And with the way I feel guys played last night, I felt it was important to send them back out there.”

Wedge said he wants to put multiple run-scoring innings together more consistently as opposed to one flurry per night. He liked what he saw the first game in Washington, D.C., against the Nationals, saying it was the team’s best offensive showing in a while.

Buck a fan of Felix

Felix Hernandez didn’t only impress his fans in the King’s Court with his eight innings of two-hit ball Friday. Marlins catcher John Buck, who’d seen Hernandez before when he played for Kansas City and Toronto, said he feels the Mariners ace is now the best pitcher in baseball.

Buck used to reserve that honor for Roy Halladay. But now, he told reporters after Friday’s game, Hernandez is the best.

“From the last time I faced him he’s gotten better,” Buck said. “He’s a different pitcher. He was good then. In my opinion, I think he’s passed Halladay. He does that (dominate) every team, not just us. Watching the film, before we played him, watched him against the Phillies, he did that to them. It’s not just us. That’s what makes him that good.”


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