Ackley, Smoak sitting as Wedge playing matchups
Second baseman Dustin Ackley isn’t in the lineup for a second straight game on Tuesday as the Mariners open a nine-day road trip at Yankee Stadium in a 4:05 p.m. game, but manager Eric Wedge said that was strictly about playing matchups against standout CC Sabathia.
Wedge made a few moves with his lineup, not starting first baseman Justin Smoak or catcher Jesus Montero as well, while getting veteran Raul Ibanez in at designated hitter and using Robert Andino at second base while keeping Brendan Ryan at shortstop.
“It’s more of a matchup thing than anything,” Wedge said. “I wanted to get Raul in there and I wanted to get Andino and Ryan in there. They both had decent numbers against CC. I talked to both [Ackley] and Smoaker. ‘Don’t read into it, it’s just a matchup and wanting to get a few other guys in there and potentially have our best lineup in there today.”
The decision to play the left-handed hitting Ibanez against the southpaw Sabathia is interesting, but Ibanez has hit .286 (12-for-42) with two home runs and 10 RBIs against the Yankees ace. Andino has hit .348 (8-for-23) and Ryan is at .400 (4-for-10).
“Raul has faced him more than anybody,” Wedge said. “It’s just a knowledge base. There’s specific history there that they can pull from. Of course that goes both ways, but you trust your people and just certain matchups work better, that type of pitcher vs. that type of hitter or his stuff vs. that type of hitter. That’s just the way it works, so you try to put your best lineup out there.”
Wedge said he also takes Ibanez’s history of success at Yankee Stadium into account. The veteran hit .273 at the stadium last year when he was playing for the Yankees, with 14 of his 19 home runs coming in his home park.
The Yankees have put together a 24-14 start despite missing many of their key players. Now they’re getting Curtis Granderson back today as he’s starting for the first time this season.
This figures to be an interesting series for the Mariners, who are throwing Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma against the Bronx Bombers and could make a nice statement if they can win this series.
The Mariners have gone 4-0-1 in their last five series after opening the year 0-5-2 in their first seven series.
Here’s the full lineups today: