Batting second for the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night (May 16), Michael Saunders went 2-for-3 with a walk against the Cleveland Indians. I wasn't sure what the plan of manager Eric Wedge was, but it appeared that he was simply looking to find some offense with this team. He may have inadvertently stumbled across something that could work well for the Mariners' offense.
With Dustin Ackley getting on base with two hits in front of him, Saunders was able to take full advantage of a hole on the right side of the infield. He got two hits, helping to really set the table for the team two different times. It led to Ackley scoring two runs, even though Saunders did get stranded all three times he made it on base.
I think that the Mariners should try keeping Saunders in the two spot and see if it can start providing dividends for the team. I admit, having three left-handed hitters start off the batting order for the Mariners might seem odd, but if it gets the job done then I don't really care if it goes against the strategy that many other teams use.
When I think about all the different batting orders that Wedge has played around with this year, I don't think I've been satisfied with anything more than what he tried on Wednesday night (May 16). There are some other problems further down the batting order, especially with Justin Smoak and Brendan Ryan really struggling, but maybe getting runners on base could start to turn things around.
At this point, what do the Mariners have to lose by giving Saunders a real shot batting second? He is living on borrowed time as it is, getting the chance to play only because Franklin Gutierrez has been down with so many injuries. Now is the perfect opportunity to see if he has what it takes to bat high in the lineup and really do some damage for the Mariners. If he doesn't pan out batting in the two spot, the worst case scenario is only that the Mariners have to try something else.
I hope this wasn't just a one-time deal with Saunders and that Wedge now has the confidence to bat Ackley, Saunders and Ichiro in that order for an extended number of games.
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*Ryan is a lifelong Seattle Mariners fan who never misses an opportunity to attend a game at Safeco Field. He has been attending games since 1985, and has fond memories of The Kingdome, Edgar Martinez, and the historic 1995 team. Sodo Mojo!