Oh dear, I've waited too long to begin this so now I'm in a big ol' hurry. Because it would be completely unacceptable for me to post a spring training game thread a few minutes after the spring training game starts. Which I'm going to end up doing anyway because I'm not a very fast writer. Fast writing and fast typing are very different things.
So let's see. The Mariners are playing the Padres in Peoria again, but this time the Mariners are listed as the visitors and the Padres are listed as the hosts. This seems to me to be a grave injustice - the Padres can claim whatever they like, but I think what we've learned from the annual charity games is that Peoria is Mariners territory. They've fought for that land, and I think they've won that land. The Mariners should not have to bat first in any baseball game that takes place within the Peoria Sports Complex, unless they're playing an intrasquad. They have gone to war for that right. Today, their rights are being trampled.
As some of you know, a fraction of the Mariners played or is currently playing a B-squad game somewhere else. I don't understand the difference between a B-squad game and a split-squad game, but split-squads count towards the standings while B-squads don't, so I guess that is the difference. A lot of interesting guys participated, including Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, and Danny Hultzen. Another interesting guy who participated is Luis Jimenez, who is interesting for different reasons from the others.
Monday's meaningful game is against the Padres, and it begins four minutes from when I'm typing this sentence, so probably several minutes before this post is published. It's not on Mariners radio, but MLB.com does present a radio option, so you can listen to that if you have an account. I'm assuming it's going to be Padres radio, so if you go with that try to prepare yourself for all the pro-Nick Hundley propaganda. It's all propaganda. Here's a Gameday link. The Mariners' starting lineup:
Dustin Ackley at leadoff is notable, but less so because Chone Figgins isn't playing. I assume that Ackley is Plan B if it gets to be the middle of May and Figgins isn't cutting it at the top, so it makes sense that Eric Wedge is letting Ackley test the waters now. Speaking of Eric Wedge, if he's here, who's managing the B-squad? It's anarchy! Anarchy with top prospects! This is how top prospects get hurt. They're not given any guidance.
Hisashi Iwakuma is starting for the Mariners on the mound, and it'll be interesting to get a look at his PITCHfx data. It seems like the Peoria PITCHfx system is a little off, or "running hot" as the experts like to say, but I think it's a consistent bias so we can take that into consideration. If Gameday today puts Iwakuma around 84-86, that's a problem. If Gameday today puts Iwakuma around 88-90, that's better. As always, we are to make no judgments this early in March, but we're free to gather evidence to inform judgments later on.
Game's already underway. Ackley and Ryan led off with consecutive doubles to left field. This team is unstoppable.