Mariners muscling up … plus today’s lineup
The Mariners take their murderer’s row show to Goodyear today, looking to see if they can keep mashing the ball after another impressive power display Tuesday.
It’s spring in Arizona and the ball always carries well here, but the Mariners have out-homered their opponents 10-4 in the first five games and hit some absolute shots the last couple days.
Franklin Gutierrez cleared the center field batter’s eye in Maryvale yesterday with what surely was at least a 450-foot blast, followed later by an equally imposing bomb over the right-field berm by Justin Smoak.
Smoak’s home run is on the video above.
On Monday, Alex Liddi drove one of the longest home runs in recent memory at Peoria Stadium, clearing the berm in left field.
That all left Michael Saunders shaking his head as he recalled his own home run Tuesday that followed Gutierrez’s blow in the third inning against the Brewers’ Yovani Gallardo.
“These guys were hitting moon balls, so I figured I’d mix in a wall scraper just to keep everyone on edge,” Saunders said with a laugh.
Saunders said what many people don’t realize is the 30-foot-high batter’s eye in Maryvale Stadium is about 20 feet beyond the 400-foot center field wall, so Guti’s home run was all the more imposing.
Brewers slugger Ryan Braun said few players ever clear the batter’s eye even in batting practice.
“I don’t know what to say,” said Gutierrez. “I just hit that ball good. That’s the best I can hit. That’s the longest homer of my life.”
Today could be more about pitching as young bucks Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker will throw the first four innings against the Indians starting at 1:05 p.m. MT (12:05 p.m .PT).
Hultzen is coming off a sizzling seven-pitch performance against the Padres when all he threw was strikes in one inning with two punchouts. He’ll go the first two innings today, followed by the 20-year-old Walker.
Here’s today’s lineup:
Dustin Ackley 2B
Casper Wells LF
Kyle Seager 3B
Kendrys Morales 1B
Raul Ibanez DH
MIchael Saunders CF
Ronny Paulino C
Carlos Peguero RF
Brendan Ryan SS
Danny Hultzen P
Beyond today, it’ll be Jon Garland getting his first start on Thursday in Scottsdale against the Giants with a one-inning stint, with Blake Beavan expected to follow with three innings and Erasmo Ramirez with two.
Then on Friday, James Paxton gets the call for two innings against the Rangers in Peoria, with Brandon Maurer also slated to throw two frames in that game.
Neither today or Thursday’s games are available on live radio, but will be streamed live for free on Mariners.com to anyone who registers. The games will be on 710 ESPN Seattle at 7 p.m. on a delayed basis.
The three weekend games — Friday through Sunday — will be carried live by 710 ESPN.