Mariners notebook: Shawn O’Malley takes his turn at leadoff
Another day, another leadoff hitter for the Mariners. On Tuesday night, Shawn O’Malley finds himself at the top of the lineup as Ketel Marte is once again out because of illness. Seattle manager Scott Servais has tried a number of options at leadoff since Norichika Aoki was sent down and has yet to see the production he would like to see.
“We’ve struggled,” he said in his pregame meeting with the media. “It’s been curious, we have the tendency to strike out to start off a game. We’ve tried a number of different ways and every night it happens. We will try O tonight and see what happens.”
While striking out to start off a game is a somewhat new development for the spot, the production from leadoff has not quite been ideal all season with a line of .240/.318/.316.
“We’ll get better, it’s just one of those funks right now,” said Servais.
This will be O’Malley’s second start at leadoff this season and his eighth at shortstop, where Servais has been pleased with what he has seen.
“O has done a nice job,” he said. “I don’t think we are looking for a Gold Glove out there, but he is making the plays we need to have made. It’s not easy just to fire out there and play that position every 10 days or so. He’s done a good job.”
At the plate, the same could be said. In 55 plate appearances since June 7, O’Malley is hitting .311/.426/.444 with nine walks and 11 strikeouts. Servais is hoping that he doesn’t see strikeout No. 12 in the first inning.
• Marte is expected to return Wednesday.
• Felix Hernandez is also set to return in the series finale with the White Sox, and while Servais would not reveal the pitch count he will be on, he did say he was hoping to get six innings from him.
• Taijuan Walker played catch for the third day in a row and said that he is scheduled to throw a bullpen Friday. Nick Vincent had no back soreness after throwing for the first time in two weeks Monday, and he was able to play catch for a second straight day.
• With Felix returning, someone will have to be dropped from the rotation. A second starter may be out for the short-term as well. With three off days in the next nine, Servais could elect to go with a four-man rotation until they get past the third off day. “We have a ton of flexibility on how we set this up,” said Servais. “Obviously we will let the guys know ahead of time who’s in, who’s out, when they are pitching. If we are going to skip a guy, obviously he would be available in the bullpen.”
• If you were listening to Adam Lind’s postgame interview in the clubhouse last night you probably heard a little voice repeatedly ask for cereal. Lind confirmed that his son got Fruit Loops after the media left the clubhouse.