Saunders' splits defy conventional wisdom

Saunders' splits defy conventional wisdom

TORONTO -- One interesting aspect of Michael Saunders' offensive emergence this season is that he's faring even better against left-handed pitchers than right-handers, defying the conventional wisdom for a southpaw swinger.

Going into Tuesday's opening game of the Blue Jays series, Saunders was batting .275 (41-for-149) against lefties compared to .233 (67-for-287) against righties. That reverse split of .042 is the second-highest in the Majors this year, behind only the Rangers' David Murphy, who is hitting .381 against lefties and .301 against right-handers.

Saunders said he had no real answer for his same-handed success, but figures it's all part of his new-found comfort and aggressiveness this year.

"It could be numerous factors," he said. "They could be hanging offspeed to me and leaving it up over the plate. Righty-on-lefty changeups are really good pitches, and typically you don't see many lefty-on-lefty changeups. Righty starters usually have about four pitches, where lefty starters maybe only have two pitches against lefties.

"I don't really know what it is, but I certainly do feel confident when I'm up there against lefties and don't feel like I'm at a disadvantage. And confidence is a big part of this game."

Manager Eric Wedge said Saunders' success has been important for a Mariners offense that is left-handed heavy.

"It does help when you put a lineup together, because he's a guy who can help you win so many different ways," Wedge said. "He doesn't give in [against left-handers]. He doesn't give ground. And I think he'll continue to get better with it. He's without doubt still improving. I'm just glad to have him back in the lineup."