Dustin Ackley moves to No. 2 spot in Mariners’ lineup as Chone Figgins’ role shrinks

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Dustin Ackley is batting second in the Mariners’ lineup today, which might end up being his spot for the next decade or so and points to Chone Figgins’ role continuing to shrink.

Figgins has been the No. 2 hitter for most of the past season-and-a-half and still has another two years and $17 million left on his contract, but he’s been so abysmal that Adam Kennedy is taking his playing time at third base since Ackley was called up to play second base.

Asked specifically about Figgins’ role, manager Eric Wedge told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times:

He’s just not going to get as much playing time. He knows that. He wants to get going more than anybody. I want him to get going more than anybody, but he’s in between right now. That’s not where you want to be. We’ll pick our spots to get him in there, and hopefully he can start heading in the right direction.

Regardless of what you thought of the Mariners’ decision to give Figgins a four-year, $36 million deal as a free agent his complete collapse since signing the deal has been shocking. Figgins hit .291 with a .363 on-base percentage in 936 games for the Angels, but he’s hit just .239 with a .312 on-base percentage in 225 games for the Mariners. And even his base-stealing has fallen apart, as he’s just 8-for-14 on steals this season after going 42-for-57 in 2010.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.