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