The Mariners staged a late rally against the Cubs this afternoon, snatching three decisive eighth inning runs thanks to four consecutive walks and a Jesus Montero single with the bases loaded. Going to have to keep this short as I'm currently on the run, so I'll jump ahead to bulletpoints:
- Wade Miley continued to look, well, just fine in his short career as a Mariner. He was sitting in the low nineties, and for the most part locating pretty well. He ran into a bit of trouble in the second, however, after giving up a leadoff homer to Jorge Soler and then generating a lot of hard contact to tie the game at 3. This, of course, doesn't matter--later in the game he mentioned he was simply trying to work on getting his fastball to break away from the plate rather than towards it. A simple reminder that we should not only ignore spring results, we should also remember that spring process is its own particular breed of monster.
- For the most part, the game was a back and forth thanks to sloppy fielding and baseballs hit into unlucky (or lucky) places. I wrote that sentence about twelve times to try and make it sound less suggestive. BUT ANYWAY, the point is that there were plenty of opportunities to try out situational hitting this afternoon, which has been a pretty big focus for Servais and the crew in this short spring. To open the game, Nori Aoki beat out an infield grounder, and then Sardinas was instructed to bunt him over. Sardinas, however, made it to the base after a little fun infield dance trying to corral the ball. They both scored seconds later on a double from Stefen Romero, which is hopefully a sentence I will not be typing on this here website after April 4th. It was like this back and forth a bit until cooling off once the subs came in.
- Adam Lind had himself quite the afternoon, getting into two pitches and putting them very far away so that he could trot to second base each time. One was even off Lester, a lefty! Joining him in the productive camp was Seth Smith, who I still keep forgetting is on this team until he quietly does a Good Thing and then I am quite excited to have him around.
- Joaquin Benoit had a hitless fourth inning, resting in the low nineties all afternoon. The rest of the arms, Mayckol Guaipe and Blake Parker excluded, got rattled a bit, but then again the Cubs have lots of scary youngs who hit the ball very far, even if you've never heard of them. Such as this Munenori Kawasaki character, who I hear will be a bit hit on the NL circuit this season.
- A few other exciting things happened on the afternoon, such as a Gaby Sanchez single, an Ed Lucas double, and the aforementioned C'ing of the Z in the eighth inning by Boog Powell, Chris Taylor, Shawn O'Malley, and Daniel Robertson, consecutively (poor Mike Z grounded out right before this), but the real talk of the town has got to be this play by Sardinas in the fourth inning.
This positional battle is far from over--Shawn O'Malley might get a shot and Chris Taylor still has upside--Skeebs noted that he could easily fit on many a 25-man roster across the league as of this moment. Of course, the Mariners are trying to be good, and that should mean taking advantage of a surprise when it bites you in the ankle. In a matter of seconds here, watch Sardinas stumble, scoop the ball, steady himself, and then if you watch closely, throw while his body is in mid-step towards the outfield. Maybe he's got good eyebrows too? I don't know. Sorry, Chris.
Tomorrow it's the Giants and we get another look at Hisashi Iwakuma. As they say, goms.