SEATTLE — Interesting lineup the Mariners are using tonight. Knowing that Phil Hughes has had difficulty with left-handed hitters this season, Seattle has stacked their lineup with every lefty on their roster, seven in all. With Hughes giving up a batting average of .345, and an OPS of .866, to lefthanders, it sets up a challenge for a pitcher who’s been scuffling along this season.
Hughes is 1-7, tying him with the Mets’ Matt Harvey for most losses in the big leagues, but the veteran righthander has shown signs of coming out of his slump lately. Hughes has lasted six innings in each of his last two starts, giving up only four runs. The Blue Jays hit two homers off him, and Hughes needs to keep the ball in the ballpark, but manager Paul Molitor is encouraged.
“A quality start would be nice,” Molitor said. “He seems to be making a little bit of progress as of late, but this is a tough lineup for him.”
Hughes has allowed 12 first-inning runs, second-most in the majors behind Michael Pineda’s 16 for the Yankees, so Molitor figures he’ll get a read quickly on his starting pitcher. “You just hope he gets off to a good start early, and gives us a chance to maybe play from ahead rather than trying to play catch-up,” Molitor said.
The Twins face lefthander Wade Miley, and they have eight righthanded hitters in their lineup — all but Joe Mauer — so both teams are playing matchups. The Twins haven’t faced many lefties this season; they are 2-5 so far this year.
Here are the lineups as the Twins try to win their third straight game for the first time since April 15-18: