Gold Nuggets – Franklin, Iwakuma and Clemson Connection

Brad Miller and Jeff Baker of the Rangers were both All-Americans at Clemson.

Brad Miller and Jeff Baker of the Rangers were both All-Americans at Clemson.

Throughout the season, Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith will provide content on From the Corner of Edgar & Dave, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the Mariners players and organization. This post covers Nick Franklin batting leadoff for the first time in his MLB career, tonight’s pitching match-up between Hisashi Iwakuma and Derek Holland, and a Clemson connection.

Nick Franklin saw his name at the top of the lineup card for the first time in his Major League career Monday. “I love hitting leadoff,” Franklin said. “I’ve hit all up and down the order in my career, but feel like I’m at my best when I’m fighting off pitches and working counts.”

It will be interesting to see if Nick is leading off again Tuesday against Texas. When Franklin is seeing the ball well, he proved to be one of the more patient and effective hitters on the team. Through his first 35 games, the M’s second baseman hit .290/.350/.473. In his last 36 games Franklin is batting .177/.255/.355.

It will be up to Hisashi Iwakuma to keep the Rangers off the board Tuesday night. He’s coming off his 13th quality start of the season, holding the A’s to three runs over seven innings on August 21. Talking with Iwakuma yesterday after batting practice (through interpreter Antony Suzuki), he said he threw less sliders to the A’s in his last start and more fastballs. When asked what makes his 90 mph fastball to effective, Iwakuma said it was because of how well he hides the ball in his delivery.

Iwakuma will need to be especially stingy Tuesday. Texas starter Derek Holland has made three starts against Seattle this year and has struck out 26 batters over 19 2/3 innings while allowing just two earned runs (0.92 ERA).

There was a Clemson connection Monday night at Safeco Field. Jeff Baker was in left field for the Rangers while Brad Miller was at shortstop for the Mariners. “He was a big reason why I wanted to go to Clemson,” Miller said. With 59 career homers, Baker left Clemson as the school’s all time home run leader and was part of the Tigers 2002 College World Series team with Khalil Greene and Michael Johnson.

“All my friends wanted to play at Florida, but I knew I wanted to play at Clemson,” Brad explained. “What Baker, Khalil, and Johnson did there made me so excited to play for Clemson.”

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