Game 80, Mariners at Royals
Feierabend vs De La Rosa, 5:10 pm.
With Sexson out for the evening and the team facing a lefty, John McLaren got a little creative with tonight’s line-up.
1. Ichiro, CF
2. Vidro, 1B
3. Ibanez, DH
4. Guillen, RF
5. Johjima, C
6. Beltre, 3B
7. Betancourt, SS
8. Lopez, 2B
9. Bloomquist, LF
I may surprise some people here, but I actually like the fact that he’s sticking Turbo at first base. Sexson’s a lousy defensive player, so sticking Vidro at first isn’t much of a downgrade, while Bloomquist can run circles around Ibanez in left field. Which is important, considering that Feierabend is a pretty extreme flyball/contact pitcher, so outfield defense is vital. This line-up acknowledges that Ibanez is a problem in left field, and that’s a huge concession that we all should be rooting for the Mariners to make. The more people running the club realize that Ibanez wearing an outfielder’s glove is killing them, the more likely it is we see Adam Jones in Seattle in the not too distant future.
Beyond that, though, figuring out if Vidro can play a passable first base is a worthy endeavor, especially with 2008 in mind. The team has to figure out a way to clear the glut at DH to get Ibanez off the field and Jones in the line-up, and if Vidro’s even relatively competent at first base, it increases the odds that the M’s would be willing to go with a Broussard/Vidro platoon at first base next year.
How they get rid of Sexson and how willing Ibanez would be to move to DH are questions for another day, but this is a start, at least, towards moving to the most sensible line-up the Mariners can run out there, given all the bad players they’re paying too much to.
If today’s line-up is even one small step towards Adam Jones in left field and Ibanez at DH, then Richie Sexson’s bruised thumb might be the team MVP.