Truth be told, I don't know why I even bother writing recaps of these intrasquad games. It seems like the thing to do, and you could argue that they're the most important news stories of the day, but are they, really? I guess what I have in mind is that I know spring games are popular in college football. But then, whenever I hear about a college football spring game, I think the level of coverage is stupid, so what am I doing? Well, I've already started here, so I suppose I might as well finish.
This afternoon, in the third of four intrasquad games, the Hisashi Iwakuma hit his pitch ceiling. Mariners 2 wouldn't get on the board after that, and now they're left to play what-if. Seems to me they have a legitimate gripe. Assuming they filed a protest, in the interest of fairness this game should be resumed from the point at which Iwakuma was removed. There are standings and I can only imagine playoff bids at stake.doubled up on the Mariners 6-3. However, this was a tilt not without its controversy. See, Mariners 1 beat Mariners 2. But Mariners 2 opened the scoring in the top of the second with a three-spot. They could've conceivably done a lot more damage, but the inning was called with the bases loaded and nobody out because
Iwakuma ran into a heap of trouble in the second after a 1-2-3 first. He said later that his delivery felt smooth, which is encouraging, but he struggled with command and got hit, which is discouraging. Especially that he got hit by the Mariners. I know that the Mariners have a lot of new hitters and aren't the team that they were a year and two years ago, but they're still the Mariners, and I'm just going to assume they have an inept offense until it's proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they don't. Better safe than sorry.
On the other side, Jason Vargas was effective for three innings and has already achieved a level of boring adequacy. It's February 28. Vargas is ahead of schedule. I remember being somewhat interested in the twist he incorporated into his delivery at the end of last season, but being the most interested I've ever been in Jason Vargas doesn't mean I'm actually that interested in Jason Vargas.
Michael Saunders ripped a three-run homer off Shawn Kelley. Here's what spring training is: you read that and you get a little excited about Michael Saunders without a corresponding increase in concern over Shawn Kelley. For good players in spring training, you don't care much about their performances, because they're good players. For worse players, you get encouraged by good performances, because maybe they're signs of progress. I'm not saying it's wrong that a lot of us do this, because it's how we get enthusiastic about baseball, but it's probably good to be aware of what we're doing. Michael Saunders homered. Yay! He homered off of a Mariner.
Vinnie Catricala homered again. He homered off of Scott Patterson again. Last year between double-A and triple-A, Patterson had 77 strikeouts and seven walks. He's not a Major League pitcher, but he's not a bad pitcher, so hooray for Catricala. There's a long way to go, but if Catricala keeps hitting, there's going to be a push to get him on the Opening Day roster. That's a forewarning. Catricala has 62 games of experience above A-ball, but Mariners fans are just a wee bit desperate for offense out of third. Just a wee bit. And while Catricala's young, he looks 34.
Let's see what else happened...okay, so Saunders tripled to go along with his homer. Catricala committed a fielding error, which is part of the complete Catricala package. Mariners 1 didn't draw a walk, and that's in a game in which they faced Hong-Chih Kuo and Steve Delabar. Chance Ruffin balked, which I find to be hysterical. There's no reason why it should be hysterical, since these things are called like real games and feature real game situations, but Chance Ruffin balked in an intrasquad. Moron. Nobody hit a sac fly or dropped down a sac bunt, which seems selfish. Attendance was 82. Last time, it was 76, and the time before that, it was...unannounced. It was probably around 76.
One more intrasquad to go, tomorrow. Then the real fake games get started.