I'll be honest: due to a combination of being sucked into the theater of the USMNT playing penguin soccer and a difficult time locating where and when the game was broadcast, I was not able to actually watch this game. I ended up listening and watching on Gameday while frantically switching between ROOT and MLBN, without success. My thirties are finding me getting more and more confused by technology. The time is approaching where I will embrace my inner Carl Fredrickson. Not the house-flying badass, the cantankerous cripple that bashes people on the head.
There has been optimism taken in the Mariners seemingly improved potency on offense this Spring. While we know that Spring stats have little predictive value our hearts do not, as they are hearts and without the ability to rationalize. Tonight's game provided a reminder of what watching Mariner games is actually like. There were a lot of swings, a few of which made contact, an Initech-worthy amount of drudgery, and one compelling reason to pay attention. Bullet points because Friday night.
- The reason to pay attention was, of course, Felix. The King needed only 70 pitches to throw 6 innings and strike out 9. While the competition did not intimidate and occasion not worthy of his talent Felix still went out and threw an absolute gem, one that led to him walking off the field to a standing ovation. His Majesty appears at least as ready for April 1st as we are.
- The rest of the game contained qualities that sent one scurrying for the word "slog" in the thesaurus. Jason Bay, clearly overwhelmed by his new defensive environs, had his worst game of the Spring, striking out three times. Many have observed the growing feeling that Bay is a lock for this roster, and if anyone had a worse day than Bay it was Casper Wells, but with today's surprise decision to not guarantee Jon Garland a rotation spot the front office has thrown us a bit off its scent. While I'm still expecting Bay to make it, I'd be less surprised after today, as today reminded me that I know very little about anything.
- Kyle Seager reached base four times, hitting a double and drawing two walks. The telling feature of Seager's Cactus League has been in its quietness. While inches are spilled on things like fifth starter competitions and Dustin Ackley's new swing, Seager's name has hardly come up. Of course, given the organization's depth at 3B he has the job basically by default. But when Eric Wedge slips into his John Wayne-isms he rarely talks about Seager needing to "make it real" or "learn how to be a big leaguer". For whatever reason Kyle Seager appears to have a level of trust from the organization not shared by the majority of the younger players.
- Mariner relief pitchers, perhaps inspired by Felix, struck out 6 hitters in the final 3 innings. Newly minted "guy that has earned a spot" Kameron Loe fanned 2 in the 8th before departing for Carter Capps in the 9th. Capps threw 15 pitches, 13 strikes and generated 3 swinging strikes while striking out the side. It's really hard not to be excited about a 2013 bullpen featuring a Stephen Pryor-Carter Capps-Tom Wilhelmsen power trio. As dominant as The Bartender can be, Capps has flashed stuff that appears on par if not a slight cut above. He is exceedingly fun.
- Danny Farqhuar got the win tonight. Thinking about Danny Farqhuar, pitcher wins, and wins in Spring Training is the baseball Bermuda Triangle. This recap is over.