Jamie Moyer’s Notebook: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Seattle Mariners June 7, 2015


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Tampa Bay Rays (30-27) vs. Seattle Mariners (25-31) 1:10 PM PST

Pitching Matchup: Chris Archer RHP (6-4, 2.01 ERA) vs. Mike Montgomery LHP (0-0, 1.50 ERA)

Chris Archer: In his last two starts, Archer has been simply fantastic. During that recent span, the young ace has gone 16 innings, allowing only eight hits, one earned run, and racking up a devastating 27 strikeouts. In fact, Archer has been making guys miss all season, striking out 55 batters over 37.2 innings in his last six outings. The 26-year-old is third in the bigs and second in the American League in strikeouts this season, with 97 so far as we have just passed the one-third mark in 2015. Despite his excellent form in the first two months, Felix Hernandez and the Mariners handed him a no-decision in their 3-0 victory over the Rays on May 27. Mike Montgomery and the M’s will look for a similar result today against the difficult young righty.

Mike Montgomery: Making only his second major league start, the 25-year-old left-hander will look to build on his successful first outing. Montgomery went six innings against the Yankees on June 2, allowing only one run on four hits in a no-decision. With Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton on the disabled list, the young southpaw will need to channel his inner Roenis Elias for this Seattle Mariners ball club in the coming weeks. Montgomery will be searching for his first career win today against his former organization, after coming to the Mariners in exchange for Erasmo Ramirez in March.


Tampa Bay Rays:

Jun 5, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Joey Butler (9) doubles in the sixth against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

1. Jake Elmore 3B

2. Brandon Guyer LF

3. Joey Butler DH

4. Logan Forsythe 2B

5. Steven Souza Jr. RF

6. Mikie Mahtook CF

7. Nick Franklin SS

8. Rene Rivera 1B

9. Bobby Wilson C

Notes: Mike Montgomery and the Seattle Mariners have lucked out, as Evan Longoria is out of the lineup for the second straight game. Hot hitting youngster Joey Butler has earned himself a spot batting third for Kevin Cash and the Rays, and he is going to be a guy to watch out for tonight against the lefty Montgomery. The last four men in Cash’s lineup are batting well below the Mendoza line, with Mahtook and Franklin both well below the .100 mark. The Tampa Bay ball club is extremely young, as they will field a lineup with an average age of just over 28, and only two players over the age of 30 in Rivera and Wilson.

More from Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners:

1. Austin Jackson CF

2. Seth Smith LF

3. Nelson Cruz RF

4. Kyle Seager 3B

5. Mark Trumbo DH

6. Logan Morrison 1B

7. Brad Miller SS

8. Willie Bloomquist 2B

9. Jesus Sucre C

Notes: Robinson Cano is out of the lineup today, as Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon will use the off day tomorrow to give Robbie two days of rest. Willie Bloomquist, who finally drove in a runner from scoring position for the Mariners in yesterday’s game, will get the start at second base. The addition of Mark Trumbo has allowed for McClendon to give the slumping Cano some time to figure his swing out, without sacrificing too much depth in the lineup. Against a very tough right-handed pitcher in Chris Archer, it will be important for the left-handed hitters in the Mariners lineup to take advantage of their opportunities today.

3 Things to Watch For:

1. Logan Morrison Goes Deep

The Seattle Mariners first baseman has been scorching hot, picking up three more hits last night to extend his career-best hitting streak to 13 games. Morrison is batting .339 over his last 15 games, with an impressive on base percentage of .403. As a matter of fact, LoMo has been great at getting himself on base all season, leading the team in walks at 21 and second in on base percentage only to Nelson Cruz. The power numbers and production have not quite been there for Logan, although that is largely due to the M’s general inability to get on base and score runs. Facing the hard throwing Chris Archer, I think it’s about time that the big 240 pound slugger runs into one and puts it over the fence.

2. Seager Stays Hawt

Over his last 15 games, Kyle Seager has a slash line of .298/.365/.579, with four long balls and eight runs batted in. We have now become accustomed to these long runs of success that Seager can reel off in any given month, and after a slow start in 2015, his numbers are right back where they should be. The all-star third baseman hasn’t driven in a run since his two homer, six RBI night on May 26 against the Rays. Seager and the Mariners will be facing a tough opponent in Chris Archer, but I say Kyle gets a couple of good fastballs to hit and capitalizes, picking up a couple of hits and a pair of runs batted in.

3. Closer by Committee

When asked about the future of the closer spot after last night’s game, Lloyd McClendon stated that for now, the responsibility could be given to Charlie Furbush, Mark Lowe, or Carson Smith depending on the situation. Smith certainly looks like he’s got the stuff to become the Seattle Mariners closer somewhere not too far down the road, but doing so too quickly could be very dangerous for the youngster. I expect McClendon to ease Smith into the role throughout the season, and if there is a save situation today, look for the Mariners skipper to use at least two arms to get it done in the ninth.

Last Game’s Predictions:

1. King Felix Rescues His People–HIT

Felix Hernandez did indeed turn in another ultra quality start last night, going seven frames and allowing only one run. You could almost consider that run unearned too, as home plate umpire John Tumpane called a ball on a clear strike to make the count 3-1 before Kevin Kiermaier hit the triple that would lead to the Rays’ only run. The King’s people needed him to go to battle, and he conquered his foe.

Jun 2, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners center fielder Austin Jackson (16) hits an RBI double against the New York Yankees during the sixth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

2. The Famous Jet Jackson–HIT

Boy did I nail this one, as Austin Jackson was the star of last night’s game. With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning and the game tied at one, Jackson turned on a fastball from Rays pitcher Steve Geltz and parked it in the Tampa Bay bullpen. A-Jax also doubled in the third inning, picking up two hits on the night and raising his season average to .276. If Austin Jackson can keep producing and getting himself in scoring position, the Seattle Mariners offense could start looking a whole lot different.

3. Seth Smith, the Secret Savior–HIT

Alright, this is one of the biggest stretches I’ve made for a hit, as Seth Smith only picked up one hit and it wasn’t a homer, but he scored one of the Mariners’ two runs and got on base three times in four plate appearances. Smith continues to turn in productive at-bats, getting deep into counts and getting himself on base frequently. The veteran’s professional approach has been one of the few reliable spots for manager Lloyd McClendon this season, and Seth is now third on the team in on base percentage at .329.

Season Tally:

Hits: 29     Outs: 43     Batting Average: .403

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