Jamie Moyer’s Notebook: Seattle Mariners vs. Baltimore Orioles May 21, 2015


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Seattle Mariners (18-21) vs. Baltimore Orioles (17-20) 9:35 AM PST

Pitching Matchup: J.A. Happ LHP (3-1, 2.98 ERA) vs. Chris Tillman RHP (2-5, 6.34 ERA)

May 15, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher

J.A. Happ

(33) throws against the Boston Red Sox during the third inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Happ: So far in 2015, J.A. Happ has been exceptional for Lloyd McClendon and the Seattle Mariners. The 32-year-old veteran has gone at least five frames in each of his seven starts this season, and at least six in all but one. Since allowing six earned runs against the Astros on May 3, Happ has allowed only two runs over 12 innings of work in his last two starts. He will look to keep the ball rolling against an Orioles lineup that struggled against Mariners’ lefty Roenis Elias last night.

Tillman: Despite being a consistent, reliable starting pitcher throughout his career, Chris Tillman has struggled so far in 2015. The big 6-foot-5 inch right-hander has allowed four runs or more in four of his seven starts thus far, including a pair of seven run outings. Tillman is 0-2 with a 6.57 ERA in his two most recent starts, and the Mariners will look to continue that trend for him today.


Seattle Mariners: 

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1. Seth Smith RF

2. Brad Miller LF

3. Robinson Cano 2B

4. Nelson Cruz DH

5. Kyle Seager 3B

6. Welington Castillo C

7. Logan Morrison 1B

8. Dustin Ackley CF

9. Chris Taylor SS

Notes: Nelson Cruz has enjoyed being back in Camden Yards so far, picking up a couple more base hits last night including a double down the right field line on a 3-0 fastball. In other news, Brad Miller did not start last night, but poked a single in a pinch hit at-bat in the top of the ninth. Look for the hot-hitting Miller to have a nice day at the plate against the Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman.

Baltimore Orioles: 

1. Manny Machado 3B

2. Jimmy Paredes DH

3. Adam Jones CF

4. Delmon Young RF

5. Chris Davis 1B

6. Steve Pearce 2B

7. J.J. Hardy SS

8. Alejandro De Aza LF

9. Ryan Lavarnway C

May 17, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles outfielder

Adam Jones

(10) hits a two RBI double in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Notes: The big bats of Adam Jones and Chris Davis have been relatively quiet through the first two games of the series, although designated hitter Jimmy Paredes did his best to fill in on Tuesday night. Both Jones and Davis have hit some balls hard, deep into the outfield, and you know that they are both hungry for some production. Seattle Mariners starting pitcher J.A. Happ will need to be careful with these guys, as they will surely be looking to punish any mistakes that he makes.

3 Things to Watch For:

1. Welington Castillo, Seattle Mariner

Welington Castillo will get his first start with his new ball club after being traded for Yoervis Medina on Tuesday morning. Mike Zunino should still get most of the playing time behind the dish, but perhaps Castillo can put up some good numbers for Lloyd McClendon and give Zunino a bit of extra motivation. The former Cubs catcher is a great talent that still has some serious upside at the age of 28, and despite a poor offensive 2015 thus far he has proved his worth at the plate. From 2012 to 2014 with the Cubs, the “back-up catcher” played 275 games, rolling out a .257 avg. with 26 HR 100 RBI. Those are some pretty solid offensive numbers in 1,035 plate appearances, especially for a catcher. With numbers like that, Castillo surely must have been expecting a lot of playing this year for the successful Cubbies. He’s sure to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder after Cubs GM Theo Epstein acquired Miguel Montero and David Ross this offseason. I expect Castillo to surprise a lot of people offensively and make the oft-criticized Jack Zduriencik look smart when he contributes from the catcher and designated hitter positions. I say he wastes no time and picks up a pair of hits in his American League debut.

2. Seth Smith is a Great Player

In the first inning of Tuesday night’s loss in the series opener, Seth Smith hit a home run AND turned a home run in to an out in a span of about 15 minutes. Smith has been one of the most productive bats for the Mariners this season after entering 2015 as a platoon outfielder. Well, Seth’s .262 average and his excellent veteran approach at the plate have earned him starts in most of the Mariners’ games thus far. After a nice day off yesterday–although he did have a pinch hit base knock in the ninth–look for Smith to come out fresh today and smack an extra-base hit or two.

3. Finally, Some Runs

The Seattle Mariners have shown some solid offense so far in this series, scoring eight runs in the first two games. They still have yet to really find their groove as a unit, but a lot of guys are hitting balls hard and putting together solid at-bats. Today is just as good as any for the bats to break out, and I’m expecting the M’s to score a bunch of runs tonight with the struggling Chris Tillman on the mound for the O’s.

Last Game’s Predictions:

1. Robbie Gets a Pair–OUT

Robinson Cano’s game yesterday was a lot like his season thus far. He manages to get a hit or two in just about every game, but he hasn’t been able to string together any notable production to get his season rolling. He’s a professional and will continue to stay within the process no matter what, but it’s these first two months have certainly been a bit tougher for Robinson Cano than Robbie–or the Seattle Mariners–would like.

2. Cruz is Just Amazing–HIT

*I am going to give myself this one after my strikeout yesterday*

Nelson Cruz bolstered his triple crown worthy batting average to .351 with a pair of hits last night and continues to put up fantastic numbers in his first two months as a Seattle Mariner. In fact, if the season ended right now number 23 would get himself a Triple Crown Award in the American League, with 16 dingers and 33 RBI to go with his .351 average thus far. Hopefully as the pitching starts to come around, the offense can produce behind the “Boomstick” of Nellie Cruz and pick up some W’s.

3. Elias Goes All the Way–HIT

*Going to give myself this one too, because I can, and Elias could have finished it if Lloyd wasn’t so careful with pitch counts*

When Hisashi Iwakuma went down back in April and James Paxton and Taijuan Walker were both struggling, the Seattle Mariners’ pitching rotation appeared to be in rough shape. Lucky for us, we had a guy who went 10-12 with a 3.85 ERA over 163.2 innings in 2014 just chilling down in AAA Tacoma. It must have given Elias some newfound motivation when he missed the starting rotation out of spring training, because he has been excellent since the call-up. In my opinion, Elias is right where he should have been the whole time, and I’ll bet his 2.76 ERA in five starts and 32.2 innings thus far will be enough to keep him in the rotation when “Kuma” returns from the DL.

Season Tally:

Out: 17     Hit: 10     Batting Average: .370

Next: What The Heck Happened To Yoervis Medina?

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