Spring is starting to linger, or maybe it's just the weather. I'm sure with a little sunshine, March won't feel like one month made months long. However, here we are, the fourteenth of March, and Spring Training already seems like it's been part of our collective consciousness for years. Something new to spice things up would be preferred. Enter, Felix Hernandez, our mighty King.
Yes, today was the first Spring start for the King and while things didn't go exactly according to plan, they didn't go poorly either. Felix was limited to under fifty pitches and was lifted in the third inning with one down after giving up a bases-loaded double. He allowed three runs in his brief work, but really the result isn't what we care about with Felix on March 14th. What was evident was that the junk was really on today. Both the curve and the changeup were being throwing with great affect and getting swinging strikes. Felix ended his brief outing striking out five of his seven outs. He jumped on the TV broadcast and sounded happy about what went down. We didn't see gun speeds, but some reports from people there said he may have been a couple ticks slower than usual on the fastball. First start, rust, etc.
Adrian Sampson, the local kid out of Skyline High School, was brought in to relieve the King. It has to be said that he looked well and just may prove to be a slick arm for the Mariners going forward. Sampson only really got in trouble when he started running out of gas in the sixth but showed good command from the right side and just maybe is another darkhorse candidate for the bullpen this season. Joaquin Benoit, Matt Anderson, and Casey Coleman all got an inning to finish things from the pitching point of view.
On the offensive side of things, Franklin Gutierrez and Adam Lind went back-to-back with solo home runs in the 6th. Lind and Guti would account for the only offensive production all day, as they also both plated a run apiece in the 4th. Franklin Gutierrez is no longer a question mark. The healthy version of him in 2016 is a power-hitting corner outfielder and we just need to wish upon whatever magic you know for his good fortune this season. Notice where this bomb lands.
Fan: Guti, I need a home run!— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) March 14, 2016
Guti: Done and done. https://t.co/C4FhLGKttG
Other things to note from today include Boog Powell taking a stupid route to an amazing catch, probably some sun-in-the-eyes going on here, but hey, maybe it gets you on Top 10 tonight.
Something that is developing as of Saturday is the role of Rob Brantly on this team. Picked up off waivers from the White Sox, he literally drove over to be with the squad day-of his acquisition. Ever since, and I've seen him twice, he looks more than capable of challenging Steve Clevenger for the backup, left-handed catcher role. Brantly seems poised for his age and newness with the org, as well he looks to be defensively quite impressive behind the dish. Keep an eye on this battle. Count on Jerry Dipoto to create a roster battle out of nowhere. Never stop challenging yourself and others. Or something snappier.
- If you wanna panic about something, Nelson Cruz is still hit-less. But why panic.
- Chris Taylor needs work at third, his bunt coverage today led to one, and possibly two bunt-base hits.
- Today was a Split-Squad day for the M's and the other game was not on Radio/TV. Tai and Kyle toiled alone.
- Casey Coleman has a fun delivery and keep an eye on his name as we get closer to Opening Day, as well.