Figgins back in lineup tonight after brief respite
Veteran third baseman Chone Figgins is back at third base and batting eighth tonight against Tampa Bay after a two-game hiatus by manager Eric Wedge.
Figgins, in an 0-for-22 skid and hitting just .190, will get a return shot against Rays right-hander James Shields. That’s no easy task, but Figgins does have a nice track record against Shields, having hit .370 (10 for 27) with three doubles.
Wedge would love to see a little of that tonight, obviously, as the Mariners are coming off a lackluster 2-1 loss to Baltimore when they totaled just five singles while wasting another strong start by Michael Pineda.
Though Figgins has been a lightning rod for fans with his slow start, it’s worth noting that his replacement — Luis Rodriguez — hasn’t exactly lit things up either. Rodriguez is hitting just .167 in 66 at-bats this season. Wedge’s best bet is to get Figgins squared away and he’ll see if a couple days off helped.
The best way to do that is to work him in at the bottom of the order, especially with Brendan Ryan hitting well at No. 2, and watch what happens for a bit.
Worth noting: Figgins was hitting just .198 as of May 29 last year, but played much better the rest of the way.
While fans are also clamoring for the promotion of the red-hot Mike Carp from Tacoma, the Mariners are sticking with Carlos Peguero in left field for now. No roster moves at this point today and doesn’t sound like anything imminent on that front.
Should be a good matchup tonight with Felix Hernandez against Shields. Hernandez is 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA in seven career starts against the Rays and the Mariners are 6-0 when Felix starts against Tampa at Safeco Field. He’s 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in six starts against the Rays in Seattle, but has received only nine total runs of support.
The Mariners will try to produce a little more tonight to help out their Cy Young winner, but Shields comes in with a 5-3 record and 2.15 ERA, so it won’t be easy.
Here’s tonight’s full lineup for Seattle:
51 Ichiro Suzuki (L) RF
26 Brendan Ryan SS
17 Justin Smoak (S) 1B
29 Jack Cust (L) DH
21 Franklin Gutierrez CF
4 Adam Kennedy (L) 2B
30 Miguel Olivo C
9 Chone Figgins (S) 3B
8 Carlos Peguero (L) LF
34 Felix Hernandez RHP