5/22/2013 7:23 P.M. ET
Mariners see positive signs on cross-country trip
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- In the face of a season-high five-game losing streak following Tuesday's 12-0 loss to the Angels, the Mariners fought to keep things in perspective as they prepared to wind up their nine-game cross-country road trip.
From veteran Raul Ibanez's point of view, things clearly could have gone much differently and he doesn't want his teammates to lose sight of the fact they won two of three against the Yankees and played good ball in Cleveland as well, losing three games in walk-off fashion.
"It feels like we're right on the edge of some really great things happening," Ibanez said. "It's important for us as a club to not take the Cleveland series as a negative. Obviously we got swept and there's not a lot of positives in getting swept. But there are a lot of positives in the way we played and the way we battled back.
"They got three walk-off hits and obviously you don't want to see that happen, but we battled back. We tied up the game a few times late and in extra innings. We battled. Leaving Cleveland I felt we were right on the cusp of some great things happening, and I feel it's important for us to focus on that."
Ibanez said he'll take that message to some of his younger teammates after Tuesday's blowout defeat.
"We probably have to mention it," he said. "These guys are cool in here. They stay pretty calm and composed. I think they get it. But yeah, at the same time it's important for us to talk to each other and remember that excellence is right around the corner. Again, I'm not saying losing five games in a row is good or getting swept in Cleveland is good. But I am saying that the fight and the drive and the will is there on this ballclub and that will carry us through the tougher times."
Third baseman Kyle Seager sounded a similar theme as the Mariners looked to put Tuesday's blowout behind them.
"We played pretty well in Cleveland," Seager said. "The record obviously doesn't show it, but we were right there in three out of four of the games. We very easily could have walked out of there 3-1. Days like [Tuesday], you just have to try to get past and get ready for the next one.
"That's definitely one of the things you learn. We've got a little bit of experience and some veteran guys in here this year. You can't let a loss the night before affect you the next day. We have a good clubhouse. We have a good group of guys. We understand that."
Wedge shakes up lineup against Angels' Wilson
ANAHEIM -- Manager Eric Wedge moved some pieces around in his lineup Wednesday in an effort to get a new look against Angels southpaw C.J. Wilson and change things up in the face of a five-game losing streak that hit bottom with Tuesday's 12-0 loss to the Halos.
Left fielder Jason Bay moved into the leadoff spot for just the second time in his career, the first coming April 26 against the Angels when he went 1-for-4 in a 6-3 loss at Safeco Field.
Michael Saunders, who has hit just .125 (4-for-32) while leading off on the road trip, dropped into the No. 2 spot. And with Kyle Seager getting his first day off after starting 29 games in a row, Michael Morse was hitting third for the first time this year after spending 31 games batting cleanup and then the past eight games hitting fifth.
"Just shaking it up against the left-hander and giving the guys a different look," Wedge said. "Every now and again I think you need to do that. And we're giving Kyle a much-needed day off. I'm trying to domino that with an off-day [Thursday], too."
Wedge said Saunders has been trying to do too much at the plate recently and needs to get back to the approach that had him hitting .286 coming into this road trip. That number has fallen to .235.
"I don't think it's fatigue," Wedge said. "I think he's expanded the zone a little from time to time. When he stays within his zone, he does damage. I think he's just expanded his zone, trying to do a little too much. We're at our best when these guys are willing and able to set the bat down and take a walk and let the next guy get a shot at it. When they try to do too much or get a little greedy up there, that's when you get in trouble."
As for Morse in the three-hole?
"He's had some success against Wilson and I wanted to give our guys a different look and give them a different look, too," Wedge said. "Rework the dynamics with him and [Morales] and see how it plays out. We'll get him up there in the first inning and see what happens."
In a crunch, Ibanez could fill in at catcher
ANAHEIM -- Manager Eric Wedge hasn't faced the situation yet and hopes it never comes up, but if the Mariners needed an emergency third catcher to step in on his current roster he said he'd probably ask veteran outfielder Raul Ibanez.
Ibanez, 40, has played one game behind the plate in his 18-year Major League career, that coming in 1999 during his first stint with the Mariners.
"I haven't proclaimed anybody yet, but Raul is probably the first guy that comes to mind," Wedge said when asked Wednesday. "We've joked about it here from time to time. That's probably where we're at."
The Mariners have been splitting catching duties between Jesus Montero and Kelly Shoppach, with Shoppach getting his second straight start Wednesday.
"Shoppy has done a pretty good job with the running game this year," Wedge said. "The way these guys run, I wanted to get him back in there again today."
If Montero was playing designated hitter as he did last year, a third catcher might be of more critical need. The Mariners went with three catchers last year when Montero was DHing on a regular basis. But Kendrys Morales has filled that role this year and Montero is strictly catching.
As for Ibanez strapping on the gear if needed?
"Raul is in better shape than anybody anyway," Wedge said with a chuckle.
• Tuesday's 12-0 loss was the largest margin of defeat in a shutout in the Mariners' history against the Angels, and it tied for the fourth-largest margin of defeat in a shutout against any team in franchise history.
• Franklin Gutierrez went 0-for-4 with a walk on Tuesday while playing right field for Triple-A Tacoma in his fifth rehab game while returning from a strained hamstring. Gutierrez is batting .150 (3-for-20) with two RBIs at Triple-A.
• Hector Noesi gave up six runs on 10 hits, including four home runs, in five innings during Tacoma's 8-7 victory over Nashville in his first outing since being sent down last week.