With Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda set to go back-to-back, today's game was supposed to be the most exciting of the month. Then we found out it wouldn't be on TV. Then we found out it wouldn't be on radio. Then we found out that Gameday wouldn't provide PITCHfx information. Then we found out that the only audio broadcast came from someone on the A's side announcing by himself into a soup can from some sort of bomb shelter. The Mariners won, and the two young phenoms combined to allow just one run in 4.2 innings, but those 188 minutes were not at all what they could've been, or what I wanted them to be.
Here are the bullet points, which are more like dot points than bullet points:
- Felix was prepared to throw three innings, but actually stopped at 2.2 after hitting his pitch count. He wound up throwing 33 strikes out of 53 pitches, whiffing three while walking one. Two of the strikeouts were called on breaking balls, and one of the strikeouts was of the swinging variety on a fastball. I'm not sure why I made note of that. I must've thought it was interesting. "Felix can get strikeouts on his fastballs and on his breaking balls!" Spring Training brings out the worst in all of us.
Of the five hits Felix allowed, it's worth noting that one of them was a bloop single to no-man's land behind shortstop, and another was a bloop double off the end of the bat the other way. But Felix was no stranger to hard contact today, either, with the most notable shot coming off the bat of David DeJesus to lead off the bottom of the first. The first real batter that Felix has faced since last October nearly took Felix's head off. Every time that's happened in the past, Felix has fallen to the ground and gotten up laughing, but what's troubling to me is that I can remember so many instances of Felix nearly being dissected.
The first batter of the second inning hit another shot up the middle.
All in all, Felix wasn't perfect, but he got his work in, he's happy with his performance, and he's looking to go four innings the next time around.
- Michael Pineda didn't follow Felix directly, but he did throw 40 pitches between the fourth and fifth innings, with 23 strikes. The vitals show two walks and one strikeout, but I can't really report any more on that given that we didn't have a visual and that by the fourth inning the low quality of the broadcast had me staring longingly at a cartridge of printer ink. I can say that, according to Shannon, Pineda was gunned between 95-98 miles per hour, which is exciting to hear. We all knew that Pineda could throw that hard, but now he's throwing that hard against big league opponents. Which means he's getting closer.
After every appearances Pineda makes, it'll be impossible to avoid discussing what effect said performance might've had on his chances of breaking camp with the team. Pineda's first appearance, I think, made his chances a little better. Today's appearance, I think, made his chances a little worse. I won't bother trying to give you any percentages.
- I didn't hear anybody shouting "KOOOOUUUUZZZZZ" when Kevin Kouzmanoff came up to the plate today. I didn't know people could help it. I thought it was instinct.
- The Mariners scored six runs in unspectacular fashion against four minor leaguers and one Major Leaguer coming off two years lost to Tommy John surgery. The Major Leaguer coming off two years lost to Tommy John surgery walked four of the five guys he faced to force in one run, and a minor leaguer who came in in relief uncorked a wild pitch to bring in another. The Mariners scored two runs in an inning in which they went 0-3 at the plate. Where was this a year ago? This could've made things way different.
- I've already told you that the quality of the A's radio broadcast was like trying to listen to the background voices from UVB-76. Adding to the charm is that the pregame show was just a microphone picking up ambient noise before the announcer scrambled into the booth in time for the first pitch. I think the A's media team drew straws at 12:04.
- I don't remember in which inning it happened because I accidentally deleted my note, but Brendan Ryan was playing shortstop today, and at one point he fumbled a ball that sounded like it was hit right to him. There was a runner on first and the announcer made it sound like a potential double play, but by the time Ryan gained control he didn't have a play at second. Maybe he got a short-hop, and Ryan probably deserves the benefit of the doubt, but there you go. Brendan Ryan is not without flaws.
Just as Felix made his Cactus League debut today, Jason Vargas makes his Cactus League debut tomorrow against the Ryan Vogelsong? THE Ryan Vogelsong? The 33-year-old Ryan Vogelsong who hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2006 and who was traded away from the Giants a decade ago for John Vander Wal and Jason Schmidt? Holy buckets.and...
There's also going to be a B game earlier in the morning started by Luke French if anyone cares. Neither game's going to be on 710.