Well what we had here today was a classic rout of the Texas Rangers by the Seattle Mariners, an event that may still carry with it some form of novelty but may quickly fall into overabundance by the middle of June. I mean, this is a team seriously considering putting Carlos Peguero not just in Major League baseball games, but in centerfield. This is a team that considers Yovani Gallardo their best pitcher. This is a team couldn't stay healthy and still can't, and against that team, the Peguero-less Mariners scored eight runs against the Peguero-ed Rangers, who scored a grand total of zero.
And it started off well, with James Paxton taking the mound to throw 61 pitches, 39 of which resulted in strikes. It took Paxton a few batters to calm down and start spotting up his pitches as well as he usually does, but his fastball was 93 out of the gate, topping out at 95--a great sign considering how up-and-down he's been with derailing injuries over the past year. He finished the day with five hits over three innings and a batter, striking out two in the process.
As I mentioned, Paxton took a hot minute to settle down today. His first innings saw a few errant pitches, but by the third he was spotting up well, certainly hot helped any by home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott. It's not anything too egregious, but this, Paxton's sole walk on the day, is far from anything that should cause concern.
The fun part of all this was that the Mariners' offense came out in full force in a way that hopefully will be a preview of things to come once the weather gets warmer and the days get longer. The Mariners have put up eight runs in games many times over the past ten years, but it hasn't always been a result of lineup efficiency and players building off presence like batteries connected together by a metal plate. Today it was a lineup that put together three runs in the first and third innings, and two in the fifth before players were finally pulled for their minor-league counterparts.
It started with a two-out walk to Cano, who made it to third on a Nelson Cruz single and finally home on a dinger from Kyle Seager:
Then it was the same thing in the third, after Seth Smith walked, reached second on a Cano single, and touched home...again...by Nelson Cruz. Well this is kind of weirdly familiar.
As you can see, Cruz nearly cleared the batter's eye in center, which is kind of amazing by itself but is also amazing just in the fact that it took me until today to realize that Nelson Cruz is hitting before Kyle Seager in the Mariners' everyday lineup, and it's going to be fun to see what happens to Seager's RBIs this year after having the bases cleared for him all the time.
Still, today was just another day from a baseball team that is actually probably this good, even though they are the victims of things like forceouts called at second that were clearly safe, catchers hurting their legs on errant swings, and a lackluster performance from the now de-pressured starting shortstop Brad Miller, who went hitless on the day with a strikeout. But those things pale in comparison to having pieces come together like Danny Farquhar finally remembering how to pitch after getting three strikeouts, David Rollins touching 95 from the left and leaving with only one hit, and Carson Smith striking out two in his one inning and change.
By now most of the stories have been written, and the only position battles that remain are between Taijuan and Roenis (Lloyd, you aren't kidding anyone), second bullpen lefty (or something something Carson Smith? god forbid Erasmo?), and backup catcher (which could be an issue if Sucre is actually hurt, but it doesn't sound like anything too serious). Those are all fun and dandy, but the reality is that this team is just about set to make another national writer's World Series prediction list, and I for one am ready for these things to start counting. Goms.