The Mariners will be without their skipper for the next two games, but luckily for the M's his replacement is plenty familiar with this weekend's opponent.
With manager Lloyd McClendon out of his action to attend his daughter's wedding, bench coach Trent Jewett will take over the post in an interim capacity against the Washington Nationals today and Saturday. And if anybody knows the Nationals, it's Jewett, who coached in their organization for the previous five years and was a candidate for their manager position this past offseason.
"It is a little bit comforting to at least know what you're up against," Jewett said Friday. "I have a pretty good feel for the vast majority of their club."
The extra knowledge will be especially valuable considering the N.L. East-leading Nationals (75-57) have consistently been among the best teams in baseball this year. They've built themselves around home-grown talent like outfielder Bryce Harper, third baseman Anthony Rendon and pitchers Jordan Zimmerman (Friday's starter) and Stephen Strasburg (Saturday's starter), which is a template the Mariners have been striving to adhere to in the Jack Zduriencik era.
From Jewett's standpoint, what the Mariners have accomplished this year has been very similar to what he saw growing in Washington.
"I think the foundation is based on pitching (for both Seattle and Washington)," he said. "This year (in Seattle) has felt a lot like last year (in Washington) from a wins and loss standpoint – a lot of close ball games, a lot of one-run victories, a lot of one-run games, so there's a lot of similarities. ... That's a great clubhouse, I know that. It's run by tremendous people and there's a lot of things that I miss, and I see a lot of the same traits over here."
With as long as Jewett spent with the Nationals, he has a lot of strong relationships within the organization, something that made it hard for him to leave. So when longtime friend McClendon, who he coached with in Pittsburgh and has known since the mid-90s, came calling after being hired by Seattle, Jewett had a tough decision in front of him.
"There's not a whole lot of things in baseball that would have taken me out of that situation, if it were up to me. Lloyd McClendon is one of them, and the way this organization treated me when I came here to speak with them were obviously things that did lure me away," he said. "I had a special relationship with Lloyd, I had an idea what he would expect from me, I had an idea of what to expect from him, and it was just an opportunity I felt was too good ... to pass up."
That also means he has a good grasp of McClendon's managerial style, which he will try to stick to during his interim stint.
"Fortunately my relationship with Lloyd is one where I have a good feel for what he's gonna do on a daily basis, and I'll manage accordingly," Jewett said. "He's done a tremendous job and I think he deserves a lot of accolades on how he's managed this ball club."
Denard Span, CF
Anthony Rendon, 3B
Jason Werth, DH
Adam LaRoche, 1B
Ian Desmond, SS
Bryce Harper, LF
Wilson Ramos, C
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B
Nate Schierholtz, RF
Jordan Zimmerman, P
Austin Jackson, CF
Dustin Ackley, LF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Kendrys Morales, DH
Kyle Seager, 3B
Mike Zunino, C
Logan Morrison, 1B
Chris Taylor, SS
Endy Chavez, RF
Felix Hernandez, P
• Outfielder James Jones was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma before Friday's game, replacing pitcher Erasmo Ramirez on the 25-man roster. Ramirez allowed 10 runs in three-plus innings in a spot start against Texas on Wednesday. Jones has hit .256 with 39 runs and a team-high 20 stolen bases in 21 attempts in three tours of duty with the M's this season.
• Outfielder Chris Denorfia is available after missing the last two games with a stiff neck, Jewett said.
• The Mariners announced an adjustment to their starting rotation, with Roenis Elias now scheduled to start Saturday and Chris Young moved back to Monday at Oakland.