Tonight, the Mariners play their first prime time game of Spring Training, as they face off against Carlos Carrasco and the Cleveland Indians. I imagine that many of you have probably been watching/listening/following along to some basketball today (there's this thing called March Madness that I hear is pretty popular), but I encourage you to take a break from the buzzer beaters and the upsets and the charges that should've been called as blocking fouls to catch a good chunk of tonight's game. Why? Well, for one reason, there's this:
McClendon says Taijuan Walker expected to throw 5 innings tonight. "He's done a nice job. So has Elias. We'll see what happens."— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) March 19, 2015
Walker has been pretty lights out in his first three outings this spring, hitting 97+ mph with his fastball, on his way to striking out eight and allowing just three baserunners (two base hits and a BB) in eight innings of work. As a fan watching these spring performances, it's a bit difficult not to jump to the conclusion that Walker currently has the edge over Roenis Elias in the battle for a spot in the rotation. Of course, these guys have each only thrown a handful of innings and there are service time/roster issues to consider, so who knows... In any case, I look forward to seeing whether or not Walker can continue his Spring Training dominance.
David Rollins, Lucas Luetge, and Rafael Perez are all scheduled to pitch tonight, too, as they continue their fight for the second lefty spot in the bullpen. So far, Rollins has been the only player in the lefty pile who has looked like a major league reliever. Again, these are very small samples sizes, but Luetge and Perez (and Joe Saunders) have each looked like they belong in a pile of... something else.
Also of note, Alex Jackson is among the minor leaguers called up for tonight's game. If you're looking for a reason to watch the M's for more than just a few innings, the chance to catch Jackson's first spring training at bat seems like a pretty good one. Other minor leaguers who might also see some action include , Gianfranco Wawoe, Jack Reinheimer, Tyler Smith, Burt Reynolds, Jabari Blash, Steven Baron, and Tyler Marlette (per Bob Dutton).
Both the M's and the Indians are running out lineups that are only a player or two away from what we'll probably see on Opening Day. As such, the first ~half of tonight's game should feature a good amount of quality baseball. I'm excited.
- TV: ROOT, mlb.tv
- Radio: 710 ESPN
- Additional note: As mentioned in Divish's tweet below, Jason Kipnis was a late scratch from tonight's game for the Indians.
New Indians lineup, Kipnis scratched with back spasms pic.twitter.com/FZybjIrIFr— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) March 19, 2015