Today the Seattle Mariners played a baseball game. Or at least I think they did--it's what my cellphone said. I was out having Mexican food and drinks with friends, following Felix and Erasmo with my phone on the table next to me like a moving, living, breathing boxscore. Spring Training, I told my friends who are utterly unconcerned with sports any shape and size. The record doesn't matter, but the performances do. They were a little confused at this. I explained to them that we would want to see how Felix performed not to get the win, but to see how his arm is doing in early 2014 in order to get a feel for not just what kind of year he would have, but how he would be performing out of the gate in mid-April.
Then I looked at my phone in the middle of the 7:00 hour, expecting maybe late first inning, a few hits, two on two our or something like that. But it was already like the fourth inning and Felix was done for the day. what?? The next four innings passed by just as quick besides a bummer of a fifth inning that saw the Mariners load the bases with no outs and fail to even score one. Before you knew it, a few starters were pulled in the eighth and the likes of Almonte and Stefen Romero played through the end of the game. Wow! What a great Friday evening!
But then it decided to slow down to a freaking snail's pace and go to extra innings, because you know, we can't ever have anything nice here in the Pacific Northwest. Finally, thanks to providence or reason or something else altogether, the Mariners and Rockies ended the game after ten with a 2-2 tie. In-N-Out's lobby closes at 10 PM though, so that's probably what all this is really about. On to the boring bullet points!
- Felix was great today, but like I mentioned earlier, did we really expect and/or need anything else? He ended up going four full innings with only two hits, a walk, and two strikeouts. The Rockies' only run of the game came during his watch in the second inning on a Jordan Pacheco force out that was quickly fuddled with a terrible throw by Jack Reinheimer. Wait, who? We'll get there in a moment. But seriously, you guys. Felix is amazing. His box score doesn't matter--you know what does matter? He threw 41 pitches in four innings. Forty-one. That's ten pitches an inning, with three batters per inning so you get the idea here...in fact, he was so efficient that afterward, he ended up not going to the locker room, icing his arm and talking to reporters, but straight to the bullpen to throw 24 more pitches just for the hell of it. Yes. Felix is ours, and you cannot have him.
- Yes, the Mariners sent Jesus Montero, James Jones, and others down to AAA today, but still gave 2013 fifth-rounder Jack Reinheimer a start at second for the hell of it. He played 66 games for the Everett Aquasox last year and is only 20 years old. When I was 20, I was trying to be in a band and would drink Mountain Dew when I woke up at 2 in the afternoon while working at a music retail store. Today, Jack Reinheimer made the aforementioned error, grounded out with the bases loaded and no outs, and struck out. All of those things are incredibly cooler than anything I have ever done, even almost a decade later, and this year he's going to get a lot of playing time through various stages in the minors. Who knows what he's actually going to accomplish, but man, some people love spring training just for this reason alone. Whatever is your thing.
- Hoping that James Jones would break with the Mariners was a bit of a long shot, and was of course, shot down today when he was sent to minor-league camp, all but ensuring he would open the year roaming center field at Cheney this April. There are two sides to this story, though, and only one of them has something to do with Abraham Almonte. The other is about Stefen Romero, who is still with the Mariners today, and is hitting .258 with two doubles, two triples, and a home run in the first inning. These are far from elite numbers, but he has absolutely looked confident in the field, if not at the plate, making a few great grabs and going 1-4 today.
- After Felix was pulled, Erasmo went another four innings, giving up four hits with three strikeouts. The Rockies scored their second run off him in the eighth inning following a walk to Cristhian Adames (spell check nightmare) a single to DJ LeMahieu, and a sac fly from Charlie Blackmon. The game was tied. After this, the Rockies tried to produce another run to take the lead by making Brandon Barnes bunt the runner to second, which worked, but then Erasmo got Ryan Wheeler to pop out and Kyle Parker to strikeout to end the inning. Erasmo has been looking very good this spring, and in lieu of Iwakuma and Taijuan coming back, it should at least be comforting to know that an opening day rotation of Felix/Baker/Erasmo/Wolf/Paxton is a fuck of a lot better than an opening day rotation of Felix/Baker/Noesi/Beavan/I don't know someone else terrible we probably deserve and have as yet another rotating face in the cast of Mariners castaways. May, come soon.
- Almonte had a bit of a rough game going 0-3 with a strikeout, and only Ackley, Romero, Buck, Quintero, and Miller had hits in the game. Miller had two, with a triple in the third, a walk in the fifth, and a single in the seventh. From the sounds of it, he made a few great plays in the field too, and some national writers were having a cow about him on twitter. You guys, this shortshop battle is a farce. Brad Miller is the real deal, and other than all the other obnoxious crap we have had to deal with around Felix in the past few years, we can probably add him with the King, Cano, and Seager in the rock solid pile. Maybe. I shouldn't be typing this in March. But that's how good I feel about him.
- Oh yeah, the score. The game was 2-1 until the aforementioned eighth, when the Rockies produced a run with a little misstep from Erasmo to tie the game at two. Carson Smith came in for M's and survived the bottom of the ninth, and even though Ryan Divish is probably off maniacally laughing somewhere, the baseball gods don't let spring training games go past ten innings, thankfully. It ended in a nightmare too, because knowing that the game would end after ten REGARDLESS OF WHAT HAPPENED, Mariners reliever Dominic Leone loaded the bases in the bottom of the tenth with two outs and oh it was painful. He finally struck out Rockies' DH Kent Matthes to end the game, but nobody was celebrating because they already had their uniforms off and the game was tied. You have to give him credit, though, for seeing it through to the end. Knowing I could go home at any time, I probably would have just rolled the ball to first and headed back to my car. This is why Dominic Leone is professional baseball player and I am not.
Tomorrow James Paxton takes the mound against the Giants tomorrow afternoon, which, yay something meaningful! All the action starts at 1 PM, with radio as usual. See you then.