Mariners Notebook: Servais on playoff roster and rotation, Julio, Haggerty
The Mariners will play their first postseason game in 21 years on Friday, and there’s still a lot unknown about that game.
First, we’re not sure yet where the Mariners will be heading. At the moment, they’re in line to go to Toronto as the No. 2 wild card against the top wild card from the American League in a best-of-three series. But there’s still the possibility of Seattle landing in the No. 3 wild card, which will go to Cleveland to meet the AL Central-champion Guardians.
Then there are the questions of when the M’s will play. There have been no indications as of yet whether the Mariners will get an early game or a late game in Friday’s series opener.
Finally, Seattle has decisions to make about its roster. That’s something Mariners manager Scott Servais said Tuesday on Seattle Sports’ The Dugout will depend on how the seeding shakes out over the final two days of the regular season, which ends Wednesday.
“Lineups and rosters for the playoffs are put together a little bit differently,” Servais said. “You know, you might have somebody who’s just a specialty guy, maybe a high-end base stealer, somebody that’s just going to be a defender, somebody who could hit right- or left-handed pitching. So looking at our roster, we have not made all those decisions yet, and a lot of it is dictated on who we play – are we going to Toronto or are we going to Cleveland? – which will ultimately determine what our final playoff roster looks like.”
One thing that is clear is that speedy, valuable utility player Sam Haggerty – who would check a couple boxes as a specialty option – won’t be on that roster. He was placed on the injured list Tuesday after suffering a left groin strain on a stolen base in the ninth inning of Seattle’s 4-3 loss to Detroit on Monday night.
“I think our trainers, staff and everybody realizes that it’s a deep tissue injury, it’s something related to his groin, so we’ll get an MRI and see where that’s at,” Servais said. “… So unfortunate because Swaggy’s had such big impact in what he does and helping our team, you know, coming off the bench or playing in left field. He’s had a really good year so it hurts. It really does hurt he’s not going to be available and be on the roster going forward here.”
In the immediate term, the Mariners recalled infielder Abraham Toro for Tuesday’s doubleheader just a day after optioning him to Triple-A Tacoma.
“Toro will come back to us today, and the fact that he can play a couple of different positions in the infield certainly helps, and he’s a switch-hitter,” Servais said.
You can listen to the full Scott Servais Show from Tuesday at this link or in the player below.
Here are a few more notable things the skipper touched upon in his weekly 1 p.m. Tuesday conversation with Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy.
The Mariners’ playoff rotation
With the way things are lined up, it appears the Mariners will send 2022 All-Star Luis Castillo out for their first playoff game, followed by 2021 AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray in the second game. They then have options if there is a third game, though Logan Gilbert seems the likely choice after he was skipped over his spot in the rotation this week.
Whoever the Mariners send out in the wild card round, Servais likes what is available to him on the mound.
“The strength of our team has been our starting pitching all year long, and I’ll put our starting pitching up against anybody’s – all five of the guys,” he said, referring to Castillo, Ray, Gilbert, George Kirby and Marco Gonzales. “They’ve been really good, they’ve been very consistent. Robbie has been kind of the leader of the pack, so to speak, taking the ball.”
While every pitcher has a rough outing every so often, and the M’s starters are no exception, Servais believes they’ll be ready to come up big under the bright lights of the postseason.
“All these guys, they’ve stubbed their toe at some point, they’ve had a rough outing, maybe they’re not quite as sharp, maybe they’re dragging a little bit or the breaking ball isn’t what it needs to be at a certain time. But I do feel very good about all of our guys having the ability to step it up when you need to, and certainly there’s no bigger stage than a playoff stage. I feel very confident in all the guys having the ability to do that. … I do trust our group.
“They all are very good competitors. Every one of these guys, from Luis to Robbie, Logan, George, Marco, these guys compete their tails off and they figure out a way to keep you in games. So whoever we put out there, I feel very good about it. And I’ll keep saying it over and over, I’ll take our starting pitching against anybody’s in the league.”
Julio good to go for Mariners
While the Mariners came up a run short in their loss Monday night, there was a very positive development: Julio Rodríguez returned from a 10-day injured list for a lower back strain. Getting the AL Rookie of the Year favorite back had an immediate impact on the box score, with Rodríguez coming up with three hits, including an RBI double, as the designated hitter.
a few hours before the game, julio told us he was going to hit a double tonight 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/UsdTLd97lE
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) October 4, 2022
While Rodríguez wasn’t in the lineup for the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, that was planned and he is expected to return to center field in the nightcap as well as play in Wednesday’s regular season finale.
“He looks great. I thought he came out last night, his timing was really good,” Servais said. “Didn’t really surprise me with Julio, he just goes and plays and doesn’t overthink it too much, and he’s so gifted. … We’ll get him a game today, and then (if) that goes well, he’ll probably be in there tomorrow, as well, in the season finale here at home. So thumbs up, all systems go.”
The last word
Before Servais wrapped up his conversation with Bump and Stacy, he shared a word following the Mariners clinching the playoffs last Friday night and the celebration that went on for hours after the game at T-Mobile Park shared by the team and crowd at the ballpark.
“Proud of all the guys here and everybody that’s helped us along the way,” he said. “But like I said the other night, we’re just getting started. So we need all the fans behind us, enjoying it, rooting for us and pulling. And I know there’ll be a bunch of people (rooting for the Mariners) no matter where we play. I’ve already gotten messages from many local people saying, ‘I’m going to Toronto or Cleveland, I don’t care.'”