Mariners notebook: Brad Miller gets his first day off

Apr 20, 2014, 9:54 AM | Updated: Apr 21, 2014, 10:20 am

By Shannon Drayer

MIAMI – And then there were two. As in two players, Robinson Cano and Abraham Almonte, who have yet to get a day off this season, as Brad Miller is sitting for the first time today.

“I’m just giving him a day off to relax a little bit and clear his mind,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I think we would all agree that he has some talent. He has some pop in the bat. He’s a plus runner and a plus defender. He just needs a day to relax a little bit.”

Miller has been struggling, just 2×18 with one run scored and one RBI in his last five games. Although he has always been aggressive it might not hurt to see an extra pitch or two a game. He currently is seeing only 3.41 pitches per plate experience, good for 96th out of 101 qualified hitters in the American League.

How does the rest of the team compare? Well, there is not a lot of middle ground in this department. Kyle Seager is best on the team and 12th in the league, seeing 4.30 P/PA, with Corey Hart and Justin Smoak both top 30. Abraham Almonte is 45th (and recently improving) at 3.97. You thin have to jump all the way to 91 to find the next Mariner, Robinson Cano, at 3.47. Along with Cano, Dustin Ackley, Mike Zunino and Miller are all bottom 10. Definitely an area that needs to see some improvement.

Miller isn’t the only one getting a day off today.

Lineup

Almonte 8
Bloomquist 5
Cano 4
Hart 9
Ackley 7
Smoak 3
Franklin 6
Buck 2
Maurer 1

Kyle Seager also gets the day off and Nick Franklin gets his first start at shortstop. Nick at short was I think a surprise for many this spring. He was better defensively than what we had heard. He was able to get to some balls I wouldn’t expect him to and has a strong arm. I am interested to see what he does today. The other notable change in the lineup is Ackley hitting fifth in the order less than a week after McClendon said he would probably not move Ackley or Zunino out of the 8 and 9 spots in the order. Apparently the pencil does have an eraser.

Welcome back

Brandon Maurer gets the start, and while McClendon would not say what his pitch count was I would imagine it will be around 65-70. Maurer also gets the added challenge of hitting today. While some pitchers relish the opportunity to pick up a bat, Maurer is not one of them. He’s always been a pitcher and really has never hit much. He may actually be the first player in the history of the game to admit that he doesn’t like hitting at all. He doesn’t see himself swinging away but is hoping to get a bunt down if needed. Interestingly enough we did not see any pitchers’ batting practice on the road as McClendon does not allow the pitchers to hit on the field. They get their work in when necessary in the batting cages.

Frequent flyer

Rather than have Felix Hernandez sit on a plane for 6 1/2 hours the night before he pitches, the Mariners sent him home early. He should be well rested for his Monday start.

Clean it up

Pitching and offense has not been the only problem on this trip. The defense, which made just one error from April 2-15, has made six (plus a passed ball) in the last six games.

Down on the farm.

The Rainiers outfielders are tearing it up. Cole Gillespie has hit safely in nine of 12 games and is hitting .362 with five doubles, a triple and three home runs. Endy Chavez is 10×27 with six runs scored and Xavier Avery is 15×52 and has six stolen bases.

Seattle Mariners

Mariners Kolten Wong...
Brandon Gustafson

Brewers writer shares insight into new Mariners 2B Kolten Wong’s play

Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal joined Wyman and Bob on Friday to break down new Mariners 2B Kolten Wong and his 2022 season.
2 days ago
Mariners Kolten Wong...
Shannon Drayer

Drayer: What Mariners are getting in Kolten Wong, what’s next in offseason

Just what are the Mariners getting in new 2B Kolten Wong? Shannon Drayer has the details with quotes from GM Justin Hollander.
3 days ago
Mariners Kolten Wong...
Brandon Gustafson

Wyman & Bob react to Mariners trading Winker and Toro for Wong

The Mariners have a new 2B in Kolten Wong. Wyman and Bob react to the trade, which sends Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro to Milwaukee.
3 days ago
Mariners Kolten Wong...
Brandon Gustafson

Mariners acquire 2B Wong from Brewers for Winker and Toro

The Mariners have added two-time Gold Glove 2B Kolten Wong from the Milwaukee Brewers for Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro.
3 days ago
Mariners Trea Turner Cody Bellinger...
Brandon Gustafson

Mariners Hot Stove Hype: All-Star Trea Turner, former MVP Cody Bellinger

The Dodgers had two potential Mariners free-agent targets in Trea Turner and Cody Bellinger, so announcer Jim Neverett broke down the players.
3 days ago
Mariners Luis Castillo...
Mike Salk

Salk: Take a breath — how to understand Mariners’ approach to improving

What was Jerry Dipoto getting at about the Mariners' approach to payroll during his Seattle Sports show Thursday? Mike Salk puts it all into perspective.
3 days ago
Mariners notebook: Brad Miller gets his first day off