Red Sox-Mariners Preview
SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners tried their best to debunk the notion that they'd given up on the 2016 season by trading veteran pitchers Wade Miley, Joaquin Benoit and Mike Montgomery late last month, but it was hard to evaluate the moves as anything less than a fire sale.
On Thursday, Seattle will get its first look at a return investment when left-handed rookie Ariel Miranda makes his Mariners debut in the series finale against the Boston Red Sox.
"You're going off scouting reports and hoping he throws strikes," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "That's my biggest thing."
Coincidentally, Miranda's only other big-league action also came at Safeco Field, where he threw two innings of relief for the Baltimore Orioles in a July 3 game against the Mariners. He hasn't necessarily been inserted into Seattle's rotation for the remainder of the season -- the return of right-hander Taijuan Walker from the disabled list this season could render this a spot start -- but Miranda could make a case for himself with a good outing Thursday.
Boston has its own up-and-coming prospect under the crosshairs in left fielder Andrew Benintendi, who made his first start Wednesday night and received a standing ovation from the Pacific Northwest Red Sox fans when he collected his first career hit in the third inning.
Benintendi, who was called up late Monday night, probably won't be in the lineup Thursday because he's platooning with right-handed-hitting Bryce Brentz in left field. But he has become an instant fan favorite because of his potential and quick rise through the Red Sox minor-league system.
Benintendi had about a dozen friends and family members at Wednesday's game in Seattle.
"Some of them flew in (Wednesday) morning and are flying out (after the game)," Benintendi said. "I've had that kind of support system my entire life."
The Red Sox (58-48) are hoping Benintdendi's bat can add some pop to an offense that has struggled for much of the current road trip.
"On this West Coast trip, the offense has been a premium to come by," manager John Farrell said after Wednesday's 3-1 loss to Seattle.
Boston is likely to play Thursday's game without first baseman Hanley Ramirez, who hurt his wrist in a dugout fall late Tuesday night and was wearing a brace Tuesday.
After the loss to Seattle, Hernandez said he was hoping to get back on the field as soon as possible. Farrell said Ramirez was likely to miss the Seattle series and possible part, if not all, of the upcoming series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Thursday is also likely to mark the final time retiring Red Sox star David Ortiz plays in Seattle. The Mariners honored him before Wednesday's game with a short ceremony that included Seattle hitting coach Edgar Martinez and a playful presentation by Mariners stars Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cruz and Felix Hernandez, who dressed in costume.
"That was good, very special," Ortiz said. "My boys doing their thing, bringing their bling out."
Left-hander Drew Pomeranz (0-2, 7.53 ERA) is scheduled to make his fourth start since being traded from San Diego for the Red Sox.