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Mariners fail to shutout Dodgers in win, lose by proxy

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The Mariners beat the Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday, 4-1, behind a great day from Mike Zunino and some speed from prospect James Jones. Felix's first innings of the year once again refuse easy categorization.

A photo of M's outfielder Corey Hart, who did not play baseball today but had by far the best photo in the photo tool.
A photo of M's outfielder Corey Hart, who did not play baseball today but had by far the best photo in the photo tool.
Christian Petersen

Well, folks, the first Felix day of 2014 is in the books. Except sort of not, because it only lasted about forty minutes and before you knew it, Hector Noesi was on the mound pitching... surprisingly well. I mean this, of course, in an entirely subjective manner: either Gameday is wonky or the Dodgers' spring training facility wasn't using PITCHf/x, so I can't read between the lines on his performance today. I will say this: I didn't break out in a cold sweat, and my stomach never once turned upside-down during his two innings. It's also spring training, so who really gives a crap. So on to the bullets!

  • Felix's two innings were kind of bizarre. Yasiel Puig hit his first pitch clear into the left-center wall for a double, which was then immediately followed up by a walk to Carl Crawford. You couldn't help feel like this meant something for the skinnier-than-usual King. Early out of the gate, command issues, shaky mechanics...yikes. I don't know if anyone is going to actually say any of these things, but they are, of course, quite silly. Felix was apparently trying to work in all of his pitches in the first inning, which is not only kind of crazy, but is also something that sounds more like a warm up activity than baseball strategy. Because that's what you do in spring training. In your first outing. He eventually settled in and while he didn't miss a ton of bats, he had a great handle on his curveball. Felix is Felix, and I can't wait to do this in April. His line for the day was 2.0 IP, 2H, 1BB, 1K.
  • The Mariners got on the board early in the third once knuckleball pitcher Brian Wilson left the game. First it was a single from James Jones, then Mike Zunino rocking a double to left. After a fielder's choice, Brad Miller and Kyle Seager hit back-to-back singles to score the first runs of the game, including a little insurance thanks to sloppy fielding. Mike Zunino doubled again in the fourth, which is always nice to see. While promising, it will be nice if this kind of stuff starts happening more consistently--no one ever blamed him for not being streaky or anything.
  • M's prospect James Jones showed quite a bit of speed on the basepaths, getting the start in CF and going 2-4 with a few decently hit balls. Jones played four games in Tacoma last year after going .275/.347/.419 with 28 stolen bags during the rest of the year in Jackson. He's on the 40-man, and you have to wonder how breaking camp with Almonte in the outfield would impact the Rainiers. But this bodes well for that.
  • Logan Morrison had a bit of a rough day, striking out in three of his four at-bats. Yes, the Mariners kept many of their starters in the game that long. The Dodgers didn't, so Chone Figgins only went 0-2 on the day, but it would have definitely been 0-4 had he remained in the game. I have no anecdotal or scientific evidence to back this claim up, but you know as well as I do that it is entirely accurate. In other ex-Mariner news, former M's outfielder Trayvon Robinson hit a home run in the eighth off of Jackson reliever Stephen Kohlscheen.
  • Brad Miller made a nice little play in the fourth, bringing back visions of Brendan Ryan. As fun as it was, though, it wasn't even halfway down the path to Brendan Ryan status, which is kind of a bummer but also a healthy reminder that that whole era is now long gone. Check it out: