Yesterday felt incredible--finally, baseball, after months of absence and longing. It didn't even matter if the Mariners won. They did of course, and then they did it again this afternoon, in an even more absurd fashion, serving as a subtle reminder that as nice as it is to have baseball back, this stuff can sure be ridiculous sometimes.
The Mariners beat the Padres today, 12-1. They had 18 hits, three home runs, and two stolen bases. Some of these runs came from the "starters," most came late in the game in the eternal spring battle of kiddies vs kiddies. It was nice seeing some success from Ji-Man Choi who went 2-2, as well as a mid-game baserunning substitution from everyone's new favorite Swiss army knife, Abraham Almonte. On to the notes!
- James Paxton was perfect through his two innings, striking out one and getting a few grounders. In light of today's frightening Taijuan Walker news, it's going to be really, really nice to see Paxton put a good spring together, if he does.
- The rest of the arms out of the Mariners pen had a good first game, with Charlie Furbush and Yoervis Medina each getting an inning of work and only giving up one hit between the two. Ramon Ramirez came in for Paxton in the third inning and struggled quite a bit after giving a leadoff double to Ryan Jackson. He got stressed, lost his command, and sent in a run on an errant pickoff attempt before finally settling in. This could be a sentence about a 22-year old prospect, but its unfortunately about a 31-year old non-roster invitee who hasn't played in the majors since 2009. You have to feel bad for the guy, but we get to start another one of these with Scott Baker tomorrow, which is probably one of the most interesting stories in the M's camp this year.
- The Mariners started their alternate squad today, so we got to see expected big-leaguers Nick Franklin (more on him in a minute), Willie Bloomquist, John Buck, Corey Hart, and Michael Saunders. Hart went 1-2 with a walk, and was replaced by Almonte on the basepaths in the sixth, and Michael Saunders had a well-hit double in the fourth. Apparently, Jesus Montero has been working hard at first base, although you kind of have to wonder how high the impression bar has been set after everything.
- If you followed this game or checked in on the Mariner interwebs at any time today, I'm sure you got wind of Nick Franklin's day, which saw him go 2-3 with the Mariners first homer of the year. Here's a look: (courtesy Seattle Mariners)
Shake in your cleats, Brad Miller, because THE BATTLE IS ON. Well, until the M's flip Franklin for a new starting pitcher, anyway. But honestly, I have no idea how the Mariners are actually going to get out of this situation, and I absolutely get that making Miller and Franklin compete might help them both perform better (and make Franklin a more attractive trade chip). I've spent this entire offseason hoping Brad Miller wins the job, but that has only forced me to kind of forget that Nick Franklin has a lot of untapped talent bubbling beneath the surface. So this made me feel weird. Happy, but weird. Frustrated. Never thought I'd be frustrated at a home run from the Mariners.
Tomorrow the M's take on the Angels at noon, and the game will be rebroadcast on MLB Network on Sunday afternoon. Onward and upward.