Lineup, as seen through this crystal ball
It’s back to work here at Mariners Camp Central, following a day in the sun hitting that little Titleist around. Actually, several Titleists, but let’s not go there.
Two birdies, and one shoulda-been-a-birdie, along with several bogies, a couple double bogies, a near rattlesnake, a couple of cactuses and you get the picture. George the fore-caddie was a hoot, but there were five of us, so would that make him a “five-caddie?”
The Mariners clubhouse does not open until noon today because of a night game against the Royals in Surprise. Shortly after the doors open, I hope to get manager Don Wakamatsu to talk about how his lineup is shaping up for the April 6 regular-season opener against the Twins at the Metrodome — which launches it’s final season, and not a moment too soon.
I have seen regular season baseball games played there, World Series games played there (very loud) and football games played there. It is a nice place for a football game, but baseball? Not good.
Wak has not, by the way, asked me for my opinion on what his lineup should look like on Opening Day, but I will give mine anyway.
I am predicting that the Twins will start a right-hander, if and they do, this is what the lineup could look like:
1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF. He hasn’t hit well in the World Baseball Classic, going 4-for-23 (.174) in Team Japan’s first five games, but I believe he’s just saving his hits for the regular season.
2. Jose Lopez, 2B. “Lopey” is the antithesis of Ichiro, going 8-for-16 in the Classic. I predict that he will become a .300 hitter for the first time in his MLB career in ’09.
3. Ken Griffey Jr., DH. The artificial turf will keep Griffey in the lineup as the DH for most, if not all, of the four-game series.
4. Adrian Beltre, 3B. Healthy left thumb: check. Healthy left shoulder: check. Full-speed ahead: check.
5. Russell Branyan, 1B. Short baggy wall in right field could be right up his ally.
6. Kenji Johjima, C. His primary job is to get on the same page as his pitchers. Offense takes a back seat.
7. Endy Chavez, LF. Gives the Mariners a second leadoff hitter in the lineup.
8. Franklin Gutierrez, CF. Focus will be on his defense, but this guy also can hit.
9. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS. If he pretends that he’s the No. 2 hitter, good things can happen. But he needs better focus, on offense and defense.
And there you have it. Well, almost.
My starting pitcher: Right-hander Felix Hernandez.
And while I’m thinking about it, what in the world is Chipper Jones thinking? He must have gone to the John Rocker “Foot in Mouth Academy”, where, apparently, the main campus is located in downtown Atlanta. Toronto is a fabulous place to visit, shop, eat, walk, chat with the locals, eh, and take a ride to the top of the CNN Tower.
— Jim Street