Jamie Moyer’s Notebook: San Diego Padres vs. Seattle Mariners May 13, 2015


The Seattle Mariners look to take both games of the quick two-game series with the San Diego Padres on Wednesday. The M’s have won four games in a row since losing six out of seven to the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels at the beginning of the month.

Pitching Matchup: James Shields (4-0, 4.25 ERA) vs. Taijuan Walker (1-3, 8.13 ERA)

Shields: The post-season hero for the Kansas City Royals in 2014 will look to stifle a Mariners’ offense that exploded for six homers and 11 runs on Tuesday night. Shields is a workhorse that usually gets deep into ballgames and more often than not, he gives his team a chance to win. The key for Shields today will be mixing speeds in order to miss the barrels of hot-hitting bats like Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager and Logan Morrison.

Walker: Taijuan Walker has struggled in 2015, walking far too many batters and consequently, he has only gone deeper than six innings once in his six starts. The Seattle Mariners seem to be committed to letting Walker continue his maturation process at the big league level, but he needs to continue to make some large adjustments if he wants to be successful. With Troy Tulowitzki possible asking for a trade out of Colorado, the 22 year-old Walker is slipping closer and closer to becoming trade bait with every poor start.

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1. Abraham Almonte LF

May 10, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres outfielder

Justin Upton

against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2. Cory Spangenberg 2B

3. Matt Kemp RF

4. Justin Upton DH

5. Yangervis Solarte 1B

6. Derek Norris C

7. Will Venable CF

8. Will Middlebrooks 3B

9. Alexi Amarista SS


The Padres have a lot of dangerous right-handed bats in their lineup today. Derek Norris and Justin Upton are both having fantastic seasons, so watch out if Taijuan Walker starts leaving that mid-90’s fastball up in the zone. There could be a few balls that leave the yard today if Walker isn’t careful.

May 10, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager (15) watches his RBI double in the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports


1. Seth Smith LF

2. Brad Miller DH

3. Robinson Cano 2B

4. Nelson Cruz RF

5. Kyle Seager 3B

6. Logan Morrison 1B

7. Mike Zunino C

8. Dustin Ackley CF

9. Chris Taylor SS


What’s better than hitting six homers in one night as a team? Facing a guy who has allowed seven long-balls in his last two starts, and 11 on the season. The Mariners will look to take advantage of any mistakes that Shields makes, and hopefully with more runners on base like last night. In the early goings of the season, the M’s–mostly Nelson Cruz–have hit a lot of dingers, but most of them have been solo shots. Look for Seth Smith to continue to get on base with frequency, and the middle of the lineup to stay hot and drive in some runs.

What to Watch For:

1. Mike Zunino Does it Again

It was only a matter of time until things started to click for Mariners’ catcher Mike Zunino, and they certainly did just that on Tuesday night when he launched two DEEP home runs. Despite his season batting average of .185 and striking out in 40 percent of his at-bats, the young field general has hit much better in the last 10 games, batting .278 with three homers and 10 RBI. Hopefully Mike can continue to turn it around offensively tonight. With James Shields having trouble with the long ball in 2015, look for Zunino to get his pitch and park another one well over 400 feet.

May 10, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher

Fernando Rodney

(56) celebrates Seattle

2. The Bullpen Bounces Back

In the last week, the Seattle Mariners’ bullpen has been much, much better. That being said, they did allow four runs, two earned in three innings of work yesterday. Generally, for whatever reason, it tends to be more difficult to shut down an offense when your team has a huge lead, so I will let the ‘pen off with a light slap on the wrist. With the unpredictable Walker on the mound today, Fernando Rodney and Co. might be called upon fairly early. If they are, I expect them to shut the opponent down in the fashion that we all came to expect last season.

3. Taijuan Walker Turns in a Quality Start

We don’t need a gem from Taijuan Walker, especially the way that our offense has been hitting the ball. What we need is six or seven solid innings, and a chance to win the ball game. Too many times this season when Walker has toed the rubber, the M’s have been in a large deficit early in the contest. The key for Walker is simple–throw a lot of strikes and attack the zone. If the young starter can avoid walks and trust his lively fastball, he should be able to turn in a solid outing for Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon.

Last Game’s Predictions (Padres vs. Mariners May 12, 2015):

1. Robinson Cano Hits HR #2–OUT

Robbie went 1 for 4 and drove in a run, but he left six runners on base and continued his homer-less streak dating back to April 14. Cano has been heating up though, batting .316 in the last 10 games to bring his season average up to .271.

2. The Bullpen Continues to Improve–OUT 

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The ‘pen came into the game in the seventh inning on Tuesday night after six scoreless innings from James Paxton. Fortunately, the Mariners offense was feasting on Padres pitching, so the four runs that the bullpen allowed didn’t hurt anybody. I expect the guys out in left field to bounce back today with a solid performance.

3. James Paxton Dominates–HIT

Ok, loading the bases multiple times isn’t exactly dominating, but nonetheless, Paxton did not allow a run in his six innings of work. The young lefty continues to improve with every start, moving to 1-1 with a 1.82 ERA in his last four starts. According to Paxton, the control problems on Tuesday night (5 walks) were caused by his arm feeling a bit too lively. That’s a good problem to have, but next time he will look to channel his 97-mph fastball a bit more productively.

Season Tally:

Outs: 4     Hits: 2

Next: Analyzing Mike Z's Development

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