Mariners Update

  • Sunday, May 13, 2001 9:00pm
  • Sports

Opponent: Chicago White Sox

When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Safeco Field, Seattle

TV: FSN (cable)

Radio: KIRO (710 AM)

Piniella sets his pitching plan: Want a peek into Managing 101, take a peek at Lou Piniella before the final game of the Seattle Mariners road trip Sunday.

He wasn’t looking one series ahead, or even a week ahead. With a pen and a sheet of paper, Piniella was toying with his starting rotation over the next few weeks – and trying to explain how the process works.

“When we left spring training, we had worked out the matchups through the middle of May,” he said. “We tried to match our pitchers’ strengths to the teams they’d be facing, and it worked out pretty well.”

Now, with a flurry of off days coming, a rotation isn’t simply a matter of running the same five pitchers out there in order.

“We’ve got a day off (today), another one next Monday and one two games after that,” Piniella said. “You stay in rotation, nobody gets to pitch on their normal rest and everyone gets screwed up.”

Checking the statistics of the teams the Mariners will play helps. The Chicago White Sox, for instance, began the day Sunday 8-15 against right-handed starters – so Piniella and pitching coach Bryan Price will start right-handers Aaron Sele, Paul Abbott and Freddy Garcia against them.

The next team on the schedule – the Yankees – began the day 4-6 against left-handers. The Mariners will start Jamie Moyer, John Halama and Sele against them, getting two left-handed starters into the mix.

“We take records into consideration, we look at how our pitchers have done against these teams, these hitters,” Piniella said. “You look at the Twins, you want to stay right-handed if you can. Against the Royals, they’re weaker against lefties. You go for matchups and you try to keep all your pitchers working.

“When you have to skip someone, you try to skip a pitcher who may not match up well against that particular team and keep everyone else working regularly,” Piniella said.

Using those days off, Piniella said, he’ll probably break up Moyer and Halama so the two soft-throwing lefties don’t pitch back-to-back after the New York series.

“We started them back-to-back in New York and that worked out,” Piniella said. “It’s not something we want to do a lot of, but against some teams, it’s a good look.”

Line of the Week: It came from Ichiro Suzuki, who was asked his impressions of his first visit to Canada: “Your national anthem is a little long.”

Ichiro wasn’t quite as pleased after Blue Jays pitchers hit him twice Sunday, the second time resulting in a warning from plate umpire Paul Schrieber. Toronto manager Buck Martinez denied it was intentional, but at the time Pedro Borbon Jr. hit Ichiro, the outfielder had nine hits in the three-game series.

Around the horn: Piniella had to scramble his first lineup just before game time Sunday. Initially, he had Mark McLemore in the game playing shortstop and David Bell at third base. Bell, who has been fighting the flu for a few days, couldn’t go, so Piniella inserted Charles Gipson at shortstop and moved McLemore to third base. Gipson responded with his first hit of the season, a sharp single that came in his 11th at-bat. … Dan Wilson entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, but gunned down Shannon Stewart trying to steal second base in the bottom of the inning.

Larry LaRue

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