Saunders hitting No. 2 for first time, with Liddi in as well Wednesday
Eric Wedge has another new look for Wednesday’s lineup at Cleveland, with Michael Saunders batting second for the first time in his career. And the skipper also lived up to Tuesday’s promise and has rookie Alex Liddi in the lineup at third base, even against right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez.
Wedge has been searching for solutions for that No. 2 role and would ideally like a right-handed hitter there to break up the lefty combo of Dustin Ackley and Ichiro Suzuki in the 1 and 3 spots. But with Brendan Ryan struggling, that option has been shelved for now and he’s gone with a trio of lefties atop the order several times now against right-handed pitchers.
That will be the case again in tonight’s 4:05 p.m. PT game at Progressive Field, though Saunders is definitely a new idea there. The young center fielder has never started a game hitting higher than fifth in the lineup. In fact, he’s batted either 7th, 8th or 9th in the order in 187 of his 200 career starts, with the other 13 coming in the 5 and 6 holes.
Saunders got off to a strong start this season, but has dropped off a bit recently and is hitting .226 for the season. Wedge, however, has been praising his approach at the plate the last few days and will give him a boost in the lineup today to see how that works against Jimenez (3-3, 5.18 ERA).
The Mariners counter with Felix Hernandez, which is always a good thing. The Mariners could sorely use a win here, given they’ve lost 10 of their last 11 road games and are sitting at 16-22 halfway through this 10-game road trip.
Here’s today’s full lineup:
Dustin Ackley 2B
Michael Saunders CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jesus Montero C
Kyle Seager DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Alex Liddi 3B
Mike Carp LF
Brendan Ryan SS
Felix Hernandez RHP
The Indians have four ex-Mariners in their lineup today, with Shin-Soo Choo in right field, Asdrubral Cabrera at shortstop, Casey Kotchman at first base and the recently-recalled Jose Lopez at third base.