Wedge going with his righty lineup vs. Sale

Mariners manager Eric Wedge is trotting out his right-handed heavy lineup tonight to face White Sox southpaw Chris Sale in the series opener at Safeco.

For fans calling for John Jaso, that’s why Wedge has Miguel Olivo and Jesus Montero in the lineup today and not the left-handed hitting Jaso.

Let’s make a couple things clear with Jaso. I like the guy and think he could help out this year, but I’m not sure why exactly he’s become such a flashpoint of fan interest this early. He was a career .245 hitter with 10 home runs and 71 RBIs in 203 games for Tampa Bay over the past four years.

The Rays gave him up for reliever Josh Lueke because he wasn’t part of their plans. He might find a spot in Seattle, but when Jesus Montero arrived, that role clearly lessened.

Jaso obviously made a nice early impression with a home run and triple and some key RBIs in his first three games, so I get that people want to see more. But let’s not make the guy into Johnny Bench just because he has a .273 average in 11 at-bats.

That said, if people want to argue for Jaso over Olivo for playing time against right-handed pitchers, have at it. I don’t think any of us have seen Jaso behind the plate enough to know exactly how good he might be there, but I understand the debate.

But against left-handed pitchers, that’s not a valid baseball argument. Jaso is a career .185 hitter with a .598 OPS against left-handed pitchers. He’s a career .255 with a .729 OPS against right-handers. So, no, he’s not in the lineup today, but will be available as a left-handed pinch hitter on the bench.

Olivo is a career .275 with a .790 OPS against left-handers. Against righties, he’s at .229 and .658. So no matter what you think of Olivo, he’s a better option against left-handers than Jaso.

Wedge has Alex Liddi and Casper Wells in against Sale today, as he’s done in previous left-handed matchups. The Mariners haven’t seen many southpaws so far this season, but do have three of their next five games against lefties, so it’ll be interesting to see how he approaches that coming up.

Here’s today’s full lineup:

Chone Figgins CF
Dustin Ackley 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Justin Smoak 1B
Jesus Montero C
Miguel Olivo DH
Alex Liddi 3B
Casper Wells LF
Brendan Ryan SS

Hector Noesi RHP

8 Comments

No, you don’t get to make that argument. What was last night, then? You don’t get to say, “Hey, he’s using the power of STATS!” when Olivo is in against lefties, when it’s clearly just [bias/irrational preference/magical thinking] that has him in there against righties, too.

Olivo doesn’t represent a future for the M’s, at all. Jaso might, just maybe, be part of the Mariners future, but we’ll never know if he doesn’t play. Especially if there’s a question on whether or not Montero sticks at catcher, and whether or not Adam Moore has a future with the M’s.

With all the talk about “accountability”, and oddly severe demonstrations of same (benching Ryan), to see Olivo hitting .143, watching him lead the league in passed balls, after he hit barely above the Mendoza line last year, it only stands to reason that fans question this new “accountability” strategy. Is it real, or is it just random sounds coming out of Wedge’s mouth?

People are so angry at Wedge and the Mariners are losing PAYING fans right and left. Looking at his right vs left practice has backfired. Everytime he tries that the Mariners have lost. I am so disgusted I may not even watch the Mariners on TV.

I think part of the issue is on Olivo’s “days off” he gets to DH. Why not do that with much better hitters – like Seager today. Or put Liddi in at DH. Or anyone hitting about .120 with better contact rates.

And we’ll never know how good of a catcher Jaso can be for us. He’ll never start at catcher.

*Above – not about .120.

Nice even-handed analysis of Jaso/Olivo situation. I know everyone’s down on Olivo, but can’t dump a guy and never play him again just because he’s struggling. Plus with leftie on the mound…As Larry Stone pointed out the other day, there’s a bit of “pile-on” happening.

Nice to see Liddi in there, to see what he can do at this level.

I think most who argue against playing Olivo are on the side of platooning Olivo and Jaso, not benching Olivo altogether.

Wedge, so far, has ignored the splits for Olivo and Jaso and seems to prefer running Olivo out there just for his veteran grittiness.

I have never seen so much silliness in my life. Olivo has been a decent major-league catcher for a long time. He is also a great clutch hitter most of the time. People have stopped picking on Figgins, based on three weeks of play, and begun picking on Olivo, based on the same short time span. Good grief.

People were sick of Olivio lat year, but there were no options. Maybe he has been a “decent” major league catcher, he simply isnt the best option this year, especially at DH. There is no room to be sentimental when filling out a line-up card. Figgins started out the year better offensively than last year. Fans know what is happening there and are holding their collective breath until the trade deadline. That being said, Figgins isnt the best option in the outfield either. It is not a personal like or dislike, it is wanting to see that we are putting a line-up out there that gives us the best chance to win.

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