By Shannon Drayer
Quick post here as I have been off the past few days and am in today to help out because Gary Hill got the big call to do play-by-play the next two days as Rick Rizzs shifts to television with Dave Sims in Philadelphia to be inducted into the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy Roll of Fame. With the schedule the way it was I got three days off, which is great for me but bad for the blog as I do not have a Todd Dybas or Larry Stone or any number of folks from MLB.com to step in. I take the days when I can get them because there are long stretches, such as the next 11 days, where I cannot.
So a quick post here to let you know I am still around. Did you catch the little nugget in the previous paragraph that Gary Hill is doing play-by-play tonight and tomorrow? He has done college basketball and baseball but this is his first big-league game. Must be a huge thrill. Absolutely awesome for him.
Tonight's lineup and a couple of notes:
Maurer takes the hill with lefties hitting a robust .358 off of him. In addition to taking some early mileage off his arm by skipping him in the last turn, work on this issue was put in. Pitching coach Carl Willis believes Maurer has the stuff to get righties and lefties out but believes his pitch selection has not helped him against the lefties. Left-handed hitters are coming up to the plate looking for something hard over the plate, and Willis wants him to throw his curve more in those situations. It is a pitch that he has but has rarely used, throwing just two in his last start. He will get plenty of opportunity to try this out as Oakland has stacked the lineup with six southpaws.
With the extra off days the Mariners have made another adjustment to the rotation. Felix, Hisashi Iwakuma and Aaron Harang will pitch in New York.
Franklin Gutierrez will test the hamstring Sunday as he will run the bases for the first time. He took batting practice for the first time Friday but no return date or date he could be sent out on a rehab assignment has been set as of yet.