Sure, thecame in with recent history on their side, which isn't something the Cubs can say about too many things. The Cubs had won 16 of their last 20 Cactus League games against the , so in a sense, they had momentum. In another sense, they had nothing at all, because history doesn't matter. The have never won a World Series, but they're very good. The Montreal Canadiens have won a bunch of Stanley Cups, but they're very bad. The have historically been cheap, and now they are not cheap. The Cubs had won some games over the Mariners, but those were with other Cubs teams, and other Mariners teams. The teams we care about are the current teams, and Thursday afternoon, the current Mariners kicked the shit out of the current Cubs by a 10-3 final.
The Cubs actually had the audacity to be leading the Mariners 1-0 after four. Then the Cubs handed the ball to closer Carlos Marmol, and all Marmol closed was his own team's window of opportunity. A four-spot later, the Mariners were in complete control, and they never looked back. 4-1 became 5-1, which became 7-3, which became 8-3, which became 10-3. The Mariners were so confident that they finished with Steve Garrison, who has two batters of Major League experience. And Garrison was all "it doesn't matter because these aren't Major League hitters."
With the convincing win, the Mariners remained on top of the Cactus League standings, in a more commanding position. They have the best record, and they have the best run differential. Unlike the rest of these jabronis, the Mariners showed up early to camp because they wanted to win, and now we're seeing the fruits of that preparation. The Mariners wanted to do something, and now we're seeing them do it. And the Cubs? Pity the Cubs. The Cubs ran blindly into a buzzsaw. They were to spend the rest of their month playing exhibition baseball. Instead now they'll spend it recovering lost limbs and organs. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer knew that they'd have to rebuild. They didn't know that it'd be so damn literal.
Kevin Millwood made his first start that counts, and if you figured he was a virtual shoo-in before, he remains a virtual shoo-in now. If you didn't figure he was a virtual shoo-in before, he's a little closer to being a virtual shoo-in now. He lasted three innings and struck out three dudes, one of whom is pretty good. He did allow a homer to Alfonso Soriano, but that was a solo blast, and if he didn't allow a homer, he wouldn't have allowed a run, and this is Kevin Millwood in 2012. Let's try not to expect too much because doing that will only punch our ticket to Disappointia, and I'm tired of going to Disappointia. I've already seen everything and eaten everywhere. They have a street named after me. I want a summer vacation in Happyville. They have pretzels and sunshine and unsolicited words of encouragement.
After Millwood there were relievers, including Brandon League in the fourth inning. Brandon League always kind of looks like he's lost and today he was given a reason. Tom Wilhelmsen pitched after that and allowed a pair of runs, although it was a pair of unearned runs. The first error was on Tom Wilhelmsen, who struck out Ian Stewart and then threw the ball away in a sequence I don't think I've ever seen before in my life. The second error was on Munenori Kawasaki, who was caught off guard by a ball in play after having spent several minutes staring at Ichiro in the dugout like I told you he would.
Then there were other pitchers. Offensively, the neatest thing was Dustin Ackley taking Marmol deep for a three-run shot in the fifth. We didn't have any video and I wasn't listening on radio so I don't know anything about this encounter, but Marmol's a terrifying reliever who's allowed eight home runs over the last three Major League seasons - combined - so I think any dinger off Marmol is cause for celebration, no matter in which month it happens. Guillermo Quiroz later homered in the ninth off Casey Weathers, seizing the opportunity presented by Adam Moore's injury to secure the same job he was already going to have anyway. Casey Weathers was the eighth overall pick in 2007 by the and last year in double-A he had 48 walks and 48 strikeouts in 45⅔ innings. If it weren't for the Mariners' Troy Tulowitzki decision the Rockies' recent draft history might look all kinds of bad.
Michael Saunders acknowledged that he was batting too high by going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Now he's probably psychologically crippled, way to go guys. Alex Liddi doubled against Scott Maine, driving home Darren Ford and Munenori Kawasaki and moving Francisco Martinez to third in a very multicultural extra-base hit. Carlos Peguero had two more hits and two more strikeouts so who the hell knows. Casper Wells got hit by a pitch and didn't develop vertigo symptoms I think.
On to tomorrow, with Jason Vargas facing the, who have lost 11-1, 16-3, and 10-2. You know what Jason Vargas really doesn't like? Snakes. Kind of like everyone I guess.