Sun, 16 Aug 2020

Rookie Lewis out to power Mariners against A's

Field Level Media
01 Aug 2020, 22:40 GMT+10

When the Seattle Mariners called up Kyle Lewis last September, he hit home runs in his first three major-league games, joining Colorado's Trevor Story as the only players to accomplish that feat.

The Seattle Mariners outfielder has shown early in this pandemic-delayed season that September was nofluke. Lewis has a hit in each of Seattle's eight games this season, with multiple hits in each of his past six.

He had two hits Friday night and drove in a run as the Mariners defeated the Oakland Athletics 5-3 in their home opener at T-Mobile Park. The series between the American League West rivals continues Saturday night.

"Kyle is often the most noticeable player on the field because he's hitting them 400 feet roughly every third swing he takes," Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said with a chuckle on his weekly radio show Thursday.

After winning the Golden Spikes Award in 2016 as the top collegiate player while at Mercer University, Lewis was the Mariners' first-round draft choice -- and the first of the Dipoto era.

A gruesome right-knee injury suffered at short-season Everett, Wash., in Lewis' first summer of pro ball set him back, but he's steadily risen among the Mariners' top prospects.

"Kyle just lets it travel so far into the zone, and he hit that ball [Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels] into dead right field about 10, 12 rows up, which is where left-hand power hitters pull the ball. For a right-hand hitter to hit the ball that way without leveraging his swing to the pull side is really indicative of top of the scale raw power, and we've always believed that Kyle had that," Dipoto said. "The world's getting to see now what a healthy Kyle Lewis is capable of and we're hopeful that he's able to string it together for these 60 games and really make the most of this opportunity."

Lewis homered in the season opener, a 438-foot shot off Houston's Justin Verlander, the American League's reigning Cy Young Award winner, and is batting .455 with two homers, eight RBIs and a major-league best 15 hits.

"Consistency is an understatement on what Kyle Lewis has been able to do," Mariners manager Scott Servais said after Friday's victory. "He's seeing the ball great and making really good swings."

Lewis and the Mariners are set to face veteran Oakland right-hander Mike Fiers (0-0, 9.00 ERA) on Saturday. Fiers is 3-2 with a 5.93 ERA in 12 career starts against Seattle.

The Mariners will counter with left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 12.27), who was 0-2 with a 4.29 ERA in four starts against Oakland as a rookie last season.

The Athletics, who have lost three games in a row after a 3-1 start, likely will have designated hitter Khris Davis back in the lineup Saturday.

Davis is 0 for 15 with seven strikeouts this season has been left out of the lineup three times in the first seven games. He hit 23 home runs and had 73 RBIs last season.

A's manager Bob Melvin said he's looking to get Davis into games with favorable pitching matchups.

That should be the case Saturday against the lefty Kikuchi.

"Hopefully, he can get some good at-bats under his belt and we get him back in the lineup," Melvin said. "He's a key part of our lineup."

--Field Level Media

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