By Shannon Drayer
Sunday's five errors were the most committed by the Mariners at home since July 13, 1995. They were ugly and costly errors, and while manager Lloyd McClendon didn't want to elaborate on the whys – or more specifically give any excuses – he did talk to his team about it.
McClendon doesn't usually address the team after games, but he does make a quick pass through the clubhouse when necessary – the conversations have been more of the congratulatory or keep-your-chin-up nature. Yesterday was different. His demeanor with the media after the game was calm but you could tell he was less than pleased with the events of the day.
I speculated on the postgame show that I wouldn't be surprised if he had words with the team before we were let into the clubhouse. It was hardly a surprise to find out that he did. According to the players I talked to, McClendon was quick and to the point with the main message being: "You guys are better than this."
We shall see how they respond against the Rays. Three of the four players who committed errors yesterday are in the lineup today.
James Jones, 8
Stefen Romero, 9
Robinson Cano, 4
Corey Hart, DH
Kyle Seager, 5
Justin Smoak, 3
Dustin Ackley, 7
Mike Zunino, 2
Brad Miller, 6
James Jones is leading off again, while Michael Saunders is well on his way to recovery from the hyper-extended knee. Saunders pinch-hit in yesterday's loss but I doubt we see that again tonight as McClendon said Saunders did feel the knee on his swings.
Kyle Seager in the lineup for the second straight day since missing two days with the flu. Seager said that he lost five-six pounds while ill.
Brad Miller is hitting ninth today against the lefty Cesar Ramos. Yesterday he broke an 0-for-19 hitless streak with a double in the third inning.
• Felix Hernandez makes his first start against the Rays since he threw a perfect game against them on Aug. 15, 2012. Only four Rays who were in the lineup that day are currently on the club – Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, Sean Rodriguez and Matt Joyce all no doubt have bad memories of the last time they faced Felix.
• Felix is making his first appearance of the year against a team that is not from the AL West. He has already seen Oakland three times, Texas and Houston twice and the Angels once.
• James Paxton is scheduled to throw a 55-pitch bullpen Wednesday. If all goes well he should throw another bullpen on Saturday in Minnesota then a simulated game Tuesday in Texas.
• Logan Morrison is making progress with his pulled hamstring. He will travel with the team on the upcoming road trip and is scheduled to hit in the simulated game Tuesday.
• The Mariners and Rays have played 'em close in recent years. Since 2012, 10 of the 16 games the two teams played have been one-run affairs, with five won by each team. In an interesting twist, the Mariners now have the Rays' closer from those two seasons, Fernando Rodney. Rodney saw action in eight of those games and came away with a 0-1 record with four saves.