CLEVELAND – The Mariners are going young in the series finale against the Indians. Very young.
The M’s have four rookies in their starting lineup and another making his starting debut on the hill. One player, Boog Powell, is all but making his Major-League debut.
Powell was announced as a pinch hitter Saturday night and then immediately lifted for Carlos Ruiz. While his name was in the official boxscore, he did not make a plate appearance or play in the field. Manager Scott Servais was happy to give him a full first game experience Sunday.
“We’ll give Boog a shot, run him out there, see what energy he can bring,” Servais said. “He always does.”
Powell joins an all-rookie outfield, while Chase De Jong will make his starting debut on the mound. De Jong made two appearances in relief for Seattle, but with Felix Hernandez on the Disabled List, gets the opportunity to take a role he is more familiar with.
“It’s probably more what he is used to, being in a routine versus trying to get ready quick, which he is not accustomed to,” Servais said. “He’s going to pitch his game.”
Prior to this season, De Jong, the 2016 Texas League pitcher of the year, had pitched all of one game above Double-A. The Mariners believe he his equipped, not just with his pitches, but his approach and mentality, to make the quick jump.
“We saw that from the first day we acquired him,” Servais said of the 23-year-old righty. “He came in my office, and like I do with all of the guys, sit down and talk to them to find out a little about them, and from Day 1, he’s well beyond his years. There’s no doubt there.”
Servais is going with the team’s very veteran backstop, Carlos Ruiz, who has caught countless debuts to help guide De Jong through the Indians lineup.
“The experience helps,” said Servais, a former Big-League catcher. “The big thing is, when a rookie is in there even when I was catching, I made it a point to say, ‘You know you better than I know you. If you are indecisive, go with what you want to go with, I will adjust.'”
With the off day Monday, this gives a number of regulars the opportunity to get extra rest. It also leaves Servais with good late-inning options on the bench.
Jean Segura, SS
Ben Gamel, RF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nelson Cruz, DH
Kyle Seager, 3B
Guillermo Heredia, CF
Dan Vogelbach, 1B
Carlos Ruiz, C
Boog Powell, LF
Chase De Jong, RHP
– The Mariners have already used 33 players, including 17 pitchers, this season. The Dodgers (34) lead the Majors in that category. The Angels, Reds and Blue Jays have also used 33.
– Jean Segura went 0 for 4 Saturday, marking just the second time this season he has failed to reach base safely in a game he finished.
– Upcoming probables for the Anaheim series:
Tuesday: James Paxton vs Matt Shoemaker
Wednesday: Hisashi Iwakuma vs Ricky Nolasco
Thursday: Ariel Miranda vs TBA
The Angels placed two players on the DL after Saturday’s game: starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs with a strained right oblique and outfielder C.J. Cron with a foot bruise.