Like most of you, I'm ready for the games to count again. On some level, this is a little selfish and greedy. We just had months without baseball, and by comparison, this isn't too bad. People like me that are complaining about watching dozens of highly competitive athletes play baseball are really just waiting to watch (mostly) the same dozens of highly competitive athletes play baseball in a different zip code. Put under the microscope, it's an odd perspective.
But, in all likelihood, it's one that we share. Once the season starts, I can usually remember just about every game the Mariners play, at least for a few months. Hell, I can still rattle off which games the M's won and lost from last April. By contrast, I couldn't tell you what happened three days ago, and I expect that three days from now, I'll have forgotten that the Mariners lost 8-4 to the Diamondbacks today. Watching the M's isn't the same outside the regular season, mostly because I just can't get the juices flowing when Tuffy Gosewisch is pinch-hitting for Aaron Hill late in a reasonably close game.
To the things that matter a little bit more than everything else:
- Joe Saunders started, and Arizona was all over him, tagging the former D'back for a dinger, seven hits, and eight runs, all earned. Saunders walked four and struck out two in five innings, raising his spring ERA to 11.57.
- I don't want to get sucked into talking about spring numbers, but I wonder if crafty lefties(TM) inherently struggle more in string training than any of their teammates. Guys like Saunders and Jason Vargas walk a tightrope even when they're in mid-season form: in the spring, while they're shaking off the rust, working on a new pitch, and playing in an atmosphere more like the Moon than Safeco Field, it must be really tough to get batters out consistently. Just a thought.
- Franklin Gutierrez played today and he took the opportunity to demonstrate that all the hard work he's put into producing three true outcome results is paying off. He went 1-3 with a walk, two strikeouts, and a bomb onto the berm in right-center to lead off the contest.
I bring this up because Gutierrez was playing only his fourth game since March 9th. Yes, most of those days off were precautionary, but it's still troubling when a guy who's had as many nicks and bumps as he's had is forced to stay out of the lineup for any length of time. I think Gutierrez will play well when he's healthy enough to contribute, but I can't imagine he gets on the field more than 80 times or so. It's such a shame that this has happened to his career. Remember 2009, when he posted 6.3 fWAR? That was fun to watch.
- After reminiscing about Gutierrez's 2009 campaign, I decided to go check how many Mariners have ever posted 6 fWAR in a single season. Eleven players have combined to do it thirty-one times, which is actually a little more often than I would have predicted. If you want to test your trivia skills, have a guess at the eleven before you reach the bottom.
- Kameron Loe did everything he could to help solidify his place in the bullpen, striking out three in two scoreless innings. Loe is kind of in limbo depending on what happens to Blake Beavan, Brandon Maurer, and Erasmo Ramirez, but he's quietly having a very productive spring.
- In case anyone forgot, the Mariners are going to strike out a lot this year. They've struck more than anybody else this spring, sixteen more times than the second place Chicago Cubs (who have played three more games than Seattle). Today, the Mariners whiffed fourteen times against a collection of pitchers that nobody will mistake for Craig Kimbrel. The M's will hit a decent number of homers this year, and that'll be lovely, but it will come at a price.