CLEVELAND – It was quite a different scene down on the field for batting practice on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik and his crew could be seen in the dugout and behind the batting cage as the players took their pregame swings. A day later, no sign of them at all. With the trade deadline less than 24 hours away, it would appear the focus is on other teams.
It’s business as usual for manager Lloyd McClendon, and his focus is on the game at hand. He has already had his conversations with Zduriencik. While the final decisions come down to Zduriencik, McClendon has been a part of the internal trade discussions. The needs are obvious and no doubt they have been expressed. But more importantly, McClendon’s experience in the league and knowledge of the players are a good resource when scouting the talent of others.
As for those others, if reports are correct, cross Marlon Byrd’s name off the list.
â€” Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 30, 2014
The Mariners are on Byrd’s no-trade list, and he reportedly wanted the club to pick up his 2016 option before approving the deal.
There are also reports that the Mariners are “out” on Jon Lester. I find it hard to believe they were ever in. They may have inquired about him but Zduriencik has said repeatedly that he isn’t interested in a rent-a-player, so I don’t think there was ever really a story here. We shall see.
For now, the Mariners have a tough task on their hands facing Corey Kluber and the Indians.
Dustin Ackley, 7
Endy Chavez, 9
Robinson Cano, 4
Kendrys Morales, DH
Kyle Seager, 5
Logan Morrison, 3
Mike Zunino, 2
Brad Miller, 6
James Jones, 8
McClendon is going lefty-heavy against Kluber, who has been very tough on righties. Robinson Cano is the only Mariner to face him in the past and he is 1 for 4 with a double and two walks.
Road vs. home
I talked with hitting coach Howard Johnson for my pregame radio interview and he had an interesting theory on why this team performs better on the road.
“When we go on the road sometimes the pressure is off, it seems like,” he said. “I think guys relax a little bit and that’s when good things happen.”
Why is the road different than home?
“It’s different because you are all together. You are at the hotel together, the buses, the plane together, at the ballpark hanging out. I just think it is a different atmosphere than when you are at home and you have got your families around, kids and stuff. There’s just a lot of things that go on. I sense the guys like the atmosphere of being together as a group and it seems like they respond to that.”
Since traveling with the team I have discovered that the road part is easy. You gear everything up for the travel and once you arrive there is nothing you have to do other than your job. Everything is taken care of. To Johnson’s point, it is a good clubhouse, the players do enjoy being together and maybe they are more together on the road. There probably is a little something to that.
• I got a lot of questions on Twitter about why SS Chris Taylor was not in the lineup Wednesday and it has nothing to do with getting hit by a pitch Tuesday night. His wrist is fine. McClendon had planned all along to start Miller.
• LHP James Paxton threw a 45-pitch bullpen and said all went well. I would be very surprised if he doesn’t get the start Saturday in Baltimore.