The article I had begun to write was titled, “Too Soon to Scrap the Platoon?” With Dustin Ackley and Seth Smith hitting the ball so well, why sit them every other game for the struggling Rickie Weeks and Justin Ruggiano?
Well, good thing I’m not the Manager of the Seattle Mariners.
If you watched the Mariners’ 7-4 victory over the Oakland A’s, you saw Weeks smack a pinch-hit three-run home run over the center field wall. And if you are like me, you were thinking, “How can you take out Smith and his .566 average out for Weeks and his .083?”, before the at bat.
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This situation highlights one of Lloyd McClendon‘s most admirable attributes: he never gets down on his players, no matter how bad they’re struggling.
Logan Morrison was hitting .164/.227/.295 through 20 games as a Mariner last season. But Lloyd stuck with him and Seattle reaped the benefits of Morrison’s .319/.376/.523 slash line in August and September. Austin Jackson hit .229/.267/.260 in 54 meaningful games and Lloyd stuck with him. It took three-and-a-half months of Brad Miller hitting .200 before Lloyd considered platooning him.
At the time, these moves are frustrating to watch for us emotionally-invested Mariners fans. But Lloyd McClendon has a level of patience that is rare in this age of instant-gratification. The constant belief he shows in his guys is going to pay off in the long run for the M’s.
Don’t count on it.