Five great innings from Roenis Elias weren't enough to top the Rockies at Talking Stick on Saturday, despite a right-handed home run from Justin Smoak and an RBI double from Brad Miller in the sixth. Elias has once again shown that he has absolutely tremendous upside, giving up four hits over 5.1 innings but striking out four as well. Colin has been screengrabbing a bunch of his pitches over on his twitter page, and I have to admit, they look damn good. Remember when that .gif of that Tom Wilhelmsen knee-buckling curve broke the internet a few years ago? I'm not saying Elias has that kind of stuff yet, but he has more than just pretty boxscores: he's a lot fun to watch. We can debate whether or not he should start the year in AAA or Maurer his way into the rotation, but either way, it looks like we've got a good one, folks.
After Wilhelmsen and Joe Beimel got the M's through the middle innings, Jackson reliever Dominic Leone struck out the side in the eighth, as well as the only batter he faced in the seventh. With all this talk over Elias--who, yeah, would be much more exciting as a member of the rotation than Blake Beavan--we should remember that the M's have some interesting arms throughout the system that aren't slated to be starters. Leone has had a pretty good spring so far, and now has eight strikeouts in as many games. He's 21, and has only played a handful of games at AA, and will be exciting to keep an eye on all year and hopefully into next.
In addition, Almonte ripped a double for his only hit of the game and Cano went 0-4 for probably the first time all spring. Joining Smoak with two hits was Mike Zunino, who has had a quiet but solid spring so far, proving he can still get on base without hitting a ton. Had the M's not called him up midway through last season, you would have to think that this spring would be the no-question-mark last-step on his way to the bigs. Would we be more excited about him than we are now? He seems to be all but what we expect instead of the exciting prospect he was on draft day.
All in all, a decent day against the Rockies despite the loss, especially for Roenis Elias. The same can't really be said for Scott Baker, however...
Mariners 5, Athletics 6
The Mariners got on the board early against Scott Kazmir, after a leadoff ground-rule double from Endy Chavez and an RBI single from Nick Franklin, future
Met Oriole Ray Tiger oh for god's sake end this charade already. Even Logan Morrison decided to get in on the action, going 2-4 today with a home run, his second of the spring. Morrison has been having a simultaneously decent-yet-whelming spring, and it's really kind of obnoxious considering that he was arguably the fourth-biggest acquisition of the offseason. It's not that he's been awful, but its just been...really? This is it? This is what we were supposed to be excited about?
Logan (ours) posted a piece this morning about Corey Hart, and if you want to feel even worse about yourself just know that both Hart and Morrison are leading the club in strikeouts this spring. Yes, this is where the whole ignore-spring-statistics thing comes to mind. But also ugh. Even forgetting his awful twitter shenanigans for a minute, he's going to have to do more than this to be worth a Carter Capps, I think. But maybe that's just because I have trouble forgetting his twitter shenanigans and it's clouding my judgement, because he's been hitting the ball and even surviving a few starts in the outfield, for some godforsaken reason.
Morrison aside, the M's and A's actually had a pretty competitive game thanks in part to a productive day from Stefen Romero, who has also been quietly having himself a great spring. He went 3-5 today with a double, suggesting that maybe, just maybe, the Mariners can rely on productive outfield depth that isn't 36 years old. But who knows how they are going to handle that whole thing.
The bad news is that Scott Baker got shelled quite a bit today. It took him nearly 90 pitches to make it through four innings, and he gave up seven hits and six walks in the process. Two of those hits were home runs, both to A's DH Stephen Vogt. The game wasn't televised, and there was no PITCHf/x available to see what kind of heat he was hitting, but with this kind of line you would think the A's had little trouble catching up to his fastball.
We've written quite a bit about Baker and the rotation here, but instead of adding any last comment on the likelihood of April's starters or the logic behind roster construction, I'm just going to leave you with a little moving picture, courtesy of the Seattle Mariners. It is a picture of an event that happened today involving something that I almost completely forgot we had, like finding a five-dollar bill in your coat pocket, or when there is leftover beer in the corner of the fridge after a Superbowl party.
It looks a little surreal, thanks in part to the great camera work of whoever shot it, but also because woah wait we have one of these remember? Instead, we've been yelling at each other on the internet and complaining about Blake Beavan. So put some Hans Zimmer music in your ears and widescreen this little puppy, and let yourself just forget about everything that has happened so far. It's not all that bad, is it?