A’s, Mariners kick off regular season
Happy Opening Night from the Tokyo Dome. Here are your lineups:
A’s: Weeks 2B, Pennington SS, Crisp LF, Smith DH, Suzuki C, Reddick RF, Cespedes CF, Allen 1B, Sogard 3B, (McCarthy SP)
Mariners: Figgins 3B, Ackley 2B, Ichiro RF, Smoak 1B, Montero DH, Carp LF, Olivo C, Saunders CF, Ryan SS, (Felix SP)
You’ll notice Kurt Suzuki is batting fifth, while Yoenis Cespedes is all the way down in the seventh hole. Bob Melvin said he likes the way Suzuki’s been swinging the bat, and he had to consider his career numbers vs. Felix, which are rather good: 8-for-26 (.308) with one home run. Cespedes, meanwhile, is still going through an adjustment process, so this takes some pressure off him, even though Melvin said the club still sees him as a middle-of-the-order threat at some point.
Also of note, Eric Sogard is at third, rather than Josh Donaldson. Melvin said he spoke with Donaldson yesterday and told him he’s still considered the starting third baseman, but “he’s just not starting today.” With Felix on the mound, it’s obviously sensible for him to stick as many left-handers in there as possible. Outside of Suzuki, the A’s other starters are a combined 14-for-70 (.200) against the right-hander. Brandon Allen, Cespedes and Seth Smith have never faced him.