Opponent: Cleveland Indians
When: 4:05 p.m.
Where: Jacobs Field, Cleveland
Television: FSN (cable)
Radio: KIRO (710 AM)
Starting pitchers: Seattle left-hander Jamie Moyer (11-5, 4.17 earned run average) vs. right-hander Bartolo Colon (10-7, 4.39).
A season to remember: If the season ended today, a number of Mariners – Bret Boone, Mark McLemore, Paul Abbott and Kazuhiro Sasaki among them – that would have had career years.
“Especially if you look at the expectations we all read about in spring training,” McLemore said, laughing.
Boone, for instance, took a one-year contract in Seattle in part because no other team pursued him. Now, after the first 107 games of the season, Boone’s numbers (.327, 24 home runs and 100 RBI) all represent career highs.
Asked if he hoped to catch his grandfather, Ray Boone, for the family RBI record of 116, Boone smiled.
“Yeah, and when I get 117, I’ll call him and say, ‘Gramps, you had a great season … ‘” Boone said.
McLemore began spring training without a job, and when the Mariners talked with other teams about him, they found little interest. This season, he’s played six positions, batted .291 and stolen 28 bases – two short of the career high set last year when he was a fulltime player.
“I’d like 40 steals,” McLemore said.
Sasaki set the franchise record last season with 37 saves in 63 appearances. In 48 games this year, he’s saved 34 games, and his 2.53 earned run average is considerably lower than the 3.16 earned run average he posted last year.
“The biggest problem we’ve had since the All-Star break is getting Kaz consistent work,” Piniella said before the game Thursday. “He hasn’t pitched in five games – we’ve got to get him more work.”
Sasaki worked a scoreless ninth Thursday and got the save.
And then there’s Paul Abbott, the 32-year-old who has lost so much time in his career to injuries. Healthy this season, Abbott is 11-2 with a 4.01 ERA. He’d never won more than nine games in any full season.
“I think a lot of us feel the same way,” Abbott said. “The time to think about your year is in the off-season. Right now, all of us are focused on the day-to-day. This season is still a work in progress.”
Martinez back today: Expect Edgar Martinez to come off the disabled list and be in the Seattle starting lineup today against Cleveland for the first time since July 15. His strained left quad muscle isn’t fully healed and may not be for weeks.
“I’m probably 80 per cent, so it won’t effect my speed,” Martinez joked. “I’ll have to be careful running the bases, I can’t make any fast starts, but I’m ready to play.”
Bringing Martinez off the DL will necessitate a roster move, and Piniella wanted no part of that Thursday.
“It’s not something I’m looking forward to,” he said. Given the fact that John Halama has pitched rarely since being recalled from Tacoma, he may be sent back to the minor leagues and allowed to start on a regular basis.
Just resting: Ichiro Suzuki began the game on the bench, given a rare start off by manager Lou Piniella.
“It’s been hot, it’s been muggy and we’re going to face four right-handed starters in Cleveland,” Piniella said. “It seemed like a good time to give him a little break.” It’s Aug. 3, and Ichiro is five hits shy of the Mariners record for hits in a season by a rookie (161), set by Alvin Davis in 1984.
Buhner update: Outfielder Jay Buhner continues to take batting practice, play catch and run – though he hasn’t done more than half-sprint in a straight line. The team hopes that within the next 10 days, he might be ready for a rehabilitation assignment.
“I haven’t had an at-bat since October,” Buhner said, “and if I don’t hurry up, the minor league seasons will be over.”
The News Tribune