"Meh" isn't usually the first word that comes to mind with a hangover, but that's absolutely what this here baseball game was. Both words. Whether it was difficultly in bouncing back from the spring's first evening game, or whether it was just eh, you gotta play the Reds every once in a while, the Mariners looked pretty listless in this here 5-3 loss, and the only thing I can muster to say about it is, meh.
Well, not the only thing, I suppose. You're here for sweet, sweet details! Well for starters, Nathan Karns was just fine today, as long as you are defining fine in the BLT from Au Bon Pain sense rather than the 1987 Bordeaux kind. He sat around 92/93 on his fastball, and breezed through two perfect innings before getting sloppy in the third. After getting a pair of outs with a man on, Karns started leaving his fastball hanging just when the lineup flipped and hitters started seeing him for the second time. One up and out to dry to Zack Cozart? Dinger. A baseball placed right at the axis of Jake Cave's gut and the dead center of home plate? Over the fence. A lazy curve right down the middle of the zone to Eugenio Suarez? Well, ok, just a single I mean this is the Reds we're talking about.
Still, it was a fine outing from Karns, who will be looking to battle James Paxton for that final coveted fifth starter spot as the rest of the spring progresses. And truth be told, half the reason this game felt so meh is probably because they have actually been, for the most part, pretty exciting. The top of the order has been getting on bases in creative ways, they've been organizing double steals, and heck, they are even shifting for righties at times. But today there were GIDPs and strikeouts, and Nelson Cruz yes, still has yet to reach base this spring.
The Mariners biggest threat against the Reds today came in the bottom of the third, and it was not unlike what had happened to Karns only moments earlier. Once the lineup flipped over, and with Chris Taylor standing on first after a single, Nori Aoki made his bat touch the baseball despite it being in a strange spot, and then he was standing on second base. Up came Boog Powell, who had grounded into a double play in the first, and suddenly the M's had two on the board.
This here video shows you a lot of things. It shows you a little lucky bobble from the Reds' defense, and it also shows you the name of Willie Bloomquist, who was at the time in the process of announcing to the world that he was thinking about managing a baseball team someday. What it DOESN'T show you, however, is this:
And what THAT doesn't show you is this:
Boog Powell will most likely open the season down at Cheney, and what you're going to hear in the process will be all those wonderful prospecty buzzwords we've come to love. You know, "upside," "athleticism," "plus-speed," and maybe something about how he is simultaneously short on years and big on reaching base--as if the two concepts by their radical newness to us are somehow intrinsically one and the same. But in any case, look at these two at bats. These are Powell's first two at-bats of the day, where he was hitting in the two hole against a pitcher he had yet to face. Although he only reached base in one of them, he successfully tallied 14 pitches on DeSlafani's arm. He saw what each of his opponent's pitches look like as they come to the plate, and importantly, in a move that would make Robinson Cano happy,he let everyone hitting behind him--all seven of them--see what they looked like as well. Boy, it's almost like there is an actual, lived process to this whole getting on base thing that extends a little deeper than just luck.
But yeah, rest of the game, meh, blah, yikes. Joe Wieland had quite the rough sixth inning, throwing nearly thirty pitches and missing the strike zone in a great number of them. Drew Jackson bobbled a ball and was immediately pulled from the field. Your house is hopefully not blowing over right now, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that this is all going to be better tomorrow, with Felix on the mound.
Well, except for Gaby Sanchez.