So this wasn't a very fun game. The Indians demolished Blake Beavan, just absolutely rolled all over him, to the tune of nine runs on sixteen hits. Beavan allowed more hits and runs in this game than he had in the entire spring leading up to it, and none of the Indians' best players were even on the field. The Mariners' offense fought back valiantly, responding with sixteen hits of their own and even scoring five runs in the early going, but most of the damage was done against Scott Kazmir and as such doesn't really count. The game dragged on for over three hours.
Oh yeah, and this happened:
Francisco Lindor, prized Indians shortstop prospect and new Mariners Public Enemy Number One, lost control of his follow-through and conked Jesus Montero on the head. Though Montero appears to be unconcussed and healthy, he does have a welt on his forehead that'll make it difficult for him to put on a baseball cap or a helmet for a while.
So no, I didn't enjoy watching this one. I especially didn't enjoy watching it because, the more I watched, the more I grew certain that Beavan is going to start the year in the rotation. Quoth Eric Wedge in a postgame interview, per Divish:
Well, he was up a little bit. We got him up to a hundred pitches, which we needed to do.
At this point I would like to remind you that Erasmo Ramirez pitched in relief of Jon Garland in Garland's final start against the Cubs two nights ago, and Wedge remarked that the Mariners could "stretch him back out if [they] need to". Having thrown 100 (terrible) pitches in this game, Beavan is now judged to have the arm strength necessary to make the Mariners' rotation on opening day. This is going to be a fairly significant factor in the front office's decision.
Beavan starting the year in the rotation wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen (hello, Jeremy Bonderman), but you can't feel good about it after a start like today's. Beavan was just getting rocked, and while a few of the hits he allowed were just little bloops and rollers, many of them were crushed. Especially the two home runs he allowed back to back in the early going.
It's worth noting, though, that Beavan didn't walk anyone and that he's now got 12 strikeouts on the spring. Actually, he'd have 13 if it weren't for a pair of rather bad calls by the home plate umpire today. It'll be somewhat interesting to find out what eventually happens with Beavan's new arm angle. At least that's what I keep telling myself, because at this point I'm pretty much convinced that we'll be finding out quite soon.
- It's difficult to feel too bad about Montero taking a bat to the head, because later in the game Indians right fielder Matt Carson ran headfirst into a wall, sustaining some facial injuries and eventually being driven off the field on a cart. There's a GIF, but I don't want to post it here because that would feel creepily celebratory. If you want to see it, you can find it at this link. Suffice it to say that it was a pretty terrifying moment, especially when Carson lay on the ground not moving for quite some time. Hopefully he recovers quickly.
- Justin Smoak continued his incredibly hot spring with a pair of doubles, one to the opposite field, and a single. Smoak is now sitting on a .408/.434/.796 line for the spring. More importantly, he keeps making me remind myself that spring training statistics don't matter. It's annoying, but I'd much rather be saying that because the Mariners are doing well than because they're doing poorly.
- Speaking of spring training statistics that don't matter, the Mariners' Quest To Dump Casper Wells took another step forward today as the young outfielder went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. This was perhaps the worst possible time for Wells to start slumping. I'm sure he's got a major league job waiting for him somewhere (after all, the Yankees are considering handing a starting job to Brennan Boesch, who has injured ribs), but be prepared for the possibility that it won't be in Seattle.
- Old Man Ibanez showed that he's still Ibanez, cranking a home run to the back of the berm in right field and screwing up some easy plays in left field. At least we know that if he does end up playing in the outfield with any level of frequency we'll get some hilarious GIFs out of it.
- Scott Kazmir, whom the Mariners mauled today, is a frontrunner for the Indian's fifth rotation spot. If you ever feel bad about the state of the back of the Mariners' rotation, just have a look at the Indians and revel in the knowledge that at least it's not as bad in Seattle as it is over there. Even if they did manage to sign Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher. Grr.
- Danny Farquhar pitched again today. He is still, somehow, inexplicably, in major-league camp. It's not like he's been having a very good spring, and last year he bounced around several different organizations, so I'm not sure what to make of his continued presence. Most likely he's just hanging around in case another reliever gets injured, but if the inevitable Wells trade also ends up sending a reliever the other way he could actually start the year in the bullpen. Danny Farquhar: the new Jeff Gray, maybe!
- With the Ibanez blast today, the Mariners have now hit 48 home runs in spring training. Last year, in all of May and June, the Mariners hit 47 home runs.