When the Seattle Mariners prepared for a four-game series with the Texas Rangers, left-handed pitcher George Sherrill knew most of what he needed.
“I’m in the process of re-learning the American League, and I didn’t pay much attention to who went where in the offseason,” Sherrill said. “But I know the Rangers still have Josh Hamilton, David Murphy and Mitch Moreland ”
All three of those are left-handed hitters, and Sherrill knows beginning every series he might be asked to work through righties and lefties – but the odds are he’ll face a left-hander late in the game.
Maybe the same left-hander multiple times during a series.
“I’m not a big video guy, and I’ve got two pitches, a fastball and a slider,” Sherrill said. “It’s not like I have four or five pitches to choose from. I go by feel.
“I read the scouting reports, and I know I might face the same guy – maybe Hamilton – three or four times in the series with men on base.”
Sherrill said he believes wins, losses and earned-run average are poor stats by which to judge a reliever, especially a specialist.
“I think the percentage of inherited runners you don’t let score is important – I know my goal is always 80 percent. My approach in the game is that every pitch is my responsibility,” Sherrill said.
“But I usually throw what the catcher calls. He’s studied the hitters and he knows how they’ve looked all night. He probably has a better feel.”
“Then it’s about execution. I usually don’t hit the catcher’s glove, but I get the job done with what I’ve got.”
An Easter Sunday seafood dinner caused Jesus Montero to show up with a stomach rumbling too much to play.
That left manager Eric Wedge with a choice of players to use at designated hitter. He chose Dustin Ackley, and put left-handed hitting Munenori Kawasaki in the lineup at second base.
First, Kawasaki had faced Texas starter Yu Darvish before. Second, reserves Alex Liddi and Casper Wells are right-handed hitters. It came down to Kawasaki or left-handed hitting catcher John Jaso.
Wedge went with the man who faced Darvish before.
When Lucas Luetge’s major league debut resulted in a three-pitch strikeout of Oakland’s Josh Reddick on Saturday, he was the second member of the Mariners to do so since 1997. The first? Michael Pineda, last April. Felix Hernandez celebrated his 26th birthday Sunday, having made 207 big-league starts. Ichiro Suzuki is still adjusting to batting third in the Mariners’ order, but in Texas he has had no problem. In 106 games as a visiting player in Arlington, his seven home runs are the most he’s hit in any road ballpark. Chone Figgins went 6-for-9 in the two games in Oakland, with a double, triple, stolen base and four RBI. Wedge said the plans on both outfielders Mike Carp and Franklin Gutierrez are to send each on a rehab assignment in the minor leagues before bringing them off the disabled list. Wedge said Gutierrez will need more time than Carp.
Seattle and Texas play today at 5:05 p.m. (PDT), a game that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Seattle’s Blake Beavan vs. Neftali Feliz.