Dusty Baker can't believe how good the Mariners are
An alternative, more family-friendly lead would be to say that themade the literal Tuesday afternoon by turning them red with embarrassment. See, the home Reds faced a visiting Mariners team that didn't bring its best starting lineup, and still the Reds were shown to be woefully under-prepared for the challenge. It might have been that they didn't prepare enough. It might have been that they couldn't have prepared enough. It might have been that the Mariners are just that good. In any case, the Reds hosted a Mariners team without some of its starters, and three hours later the Reds lost by seven. They lost 8-1, which feels even more humiliating than 7-0. That 1 looks so feeble. It is dwarfed by that 8. It is one-eighth as big as that 8.
It's good to see the Mariners get back on the Cactus League warpath after a bit of a slump. This was a convincing win - the Mariners' most convincing win since they dropped the10-3 a couple weeks ago. They're still two and a half games behind the A's for first place, and that's tricky since both of the teams go to Japan on Thursday, but Cactus League action lies on the other side, and the A's might come back a broken shell of a team after the Mariners steamroll them in Tokyo. The Mariners could beat the A's in Japan, and then come back and storm past the A's in Arizona for the prized Golden Saguaro. It's something that could happen. And then the Mariners could put that Golden Saguaro in with all of their other trophies.
This game against the Reds - this probably wasn't a very important game for members of the Mariners' starting lineup. I'd say this was a more important game for members of the Mariners' pitching staff, and those members - those three of them - performed well. I just referred to Kevin Millwood, Hisashi Iwakuma, and Lucas Luetge as members. Big ol' penises, all three. Millwood in particular faced a strong lineup. Substitutes were coming in by the time Iwakuma made it to the mound, and Luetge faced Denis Phipps, Willie Harris, and Chris Heisey. Not exactly a huge test for Lucas Luetge, but all three of those batters are better than Lucas Luetge is at batting. Put that in your pipe and light it and smoke it and light it and smoke it.
Millwood went five innings in his start and turned in a line you'd expect from Felix Hernandez if Felix Hernandez were limited to five innings in a start. Millwood had five strikeouts without a walk, and surrendered a run on a single and a double. Millwood was never guaranteed anything but now he's got three walks and 12 strikeouts to go with a 3.21 ERA in spring so we can probably go ahead and pen him into the rotation. He might not last long, depending, but I'm thinking he's done enough. The coaching staff will give him credit for building up to this.
Iwakuma got hit a bit in his three innings of relief, but he didn't allow a run and he didn't allow a walk. Three of the five hits he allowed were on grounders, and he's looking at a 9/2 strikeout-to-walk ratio. This is an interesting situation - the Mariners didn't know quite what they were getting in Iwakuma when they signed him, and he's allowed a lot of hits. Suddenly there's talk that he could start the season in the bullpen, after he came out of the bullpen today. We'll have our answers shortly, but the roster is more difficult to figure out now than we thought it would be when camp opened.
Luetge threw an inning and struck out two dudes. Neither of them were the lefty dude. Luetge has one walk and nine strikeouts, and though the competition hasn't been outstanding by the points at which he's entered, Luetge's making a name for himself. That name is "Lucas Luetge". That is his name, and now some people are beginning to hear his name.
At the plate, the Mariners got enough runs from Jeff Francis, and then they did mean things to Kanekoa Texeira and Andrew Brackman. In this game, Kanekoa Texeira got hit, and Lucas Luetge didn't. I have dedicated a full four minutes to trying to come up with the right Rule 5 Draft joke and this is the best that I've got. That isn't even a joke, that's just a sentence explaining something I was doing. That is not an easy joke, or I am not good at making jokes.
The star was Kyle Seager, who went 3-for-5 with three doubles. One of them was just a boring groundball down the first-base line that got by a very Canadian Joey Votto, but the other two were legitimate line drives to right. Those were Seager's first three doubles of the spring, and now he's up to three doubles and four homers, counting the homer that didn't count. Encouraging power, and this is where I mention that Chone Figgins does not have a home run.
Carlos Peguero launched a home run out to right field. Peguero does something good just often enough to keep you teased, and by "you" I mean "the audience" and I mean "the Mariners". I think every time Carlos Peguero rounds the bases after hitting a homer, he reaches up to adjust his helmet. You could read into this as saying that Carlos Peguero swings with such force that he displaces his helmet, or you could read into this as saying that batting helmets move around a lot and are uncomfortable.
Munenori Kawasaki had three hits and he looks like he's going to be super annoying. Casper Wells went hitless and quietly continued a discouraging spring. Jesus Montero called attention to himself by throwing out Brandon Phillips on the bases, which is something Johnny Bench never did. Future catcher? Future catcher.
Wednesday, the Mariners play their last game stateside before going to Japan. They play the, and they're starting Felix. I wrote those two sentences anticipating that they would lead me to an interesting and humorous third. Now I'm all wet.