Game 8, Rangers at Mariners
McCarthy vs Ramirez, 1:05 pm.
Standard line-up 1 to 7, but Lopez is batting eighth because Willie Ballgame is getting the start at shortstop. According to Geoff Baker, “Manager Mike Hargrove said Bloomquist is starting in place of Yuniesky Betancourt because Bloomquist needs playing time.”
So, on a day when the M’s are starting hopeful groundball pitcher Horacio Ramirez, they’re benching their elite defensive shortstop and replacing him with a utility infielder who lacks the range to play the position on a regular basis. As a bonus, flyball pitcher Jeff Weaver is scheduled to start on Tuesday. If you want to give Willie a start at shortstop, don’t you think you might want to do it when you don’t have a guy on the mound whose goal is to get as many groundballs as possible?
The M’s acquired Ramirez in large part because of his groundball tendencies. So now, when he takes the hill, they make his infield defense significantly worse “because Willie needs to play.”