So what we had here was an exhibition game that saw the Mariners take a ninth inning lead on a "dramatic" home run by Dario Pizzano off of a Rasmus of little import. Despite the circumstances surrounding the dinger I can't help but think it must have been a thrill for the stocky Boston native. I once hit a last inning home run in a slow pitch co-ed softball game in college and I felt great. So, Cactus League or no I'm sure Pizzano felt pretty damn good rounding the bases today in Mesa, AZ.
I also couldn't help but notice that Pizzano looks like a hulked out version of our own Matt Ellis:
Well, wait, that didn't turn out like I hoped. Just try to imagine that the computer isn't there and that Matt's hypothetical jaw is far less filled with right angles than Pizzano, then you'll get it.
ANYWAY while Pizzano's ding danger should have been a dramatic game winner it wasn't because Craig Gentry immediately led off the bottom of the ninth with a triple off of Jonathan Aro. A shallow popup later and Geovany Soto hit a fly ball just deep enough to score Gentry, and after another out Scott Servais said the Mariners were done playing, because the Angels are dumb and smelly, and he had a 4:30 early reservation at Pizzeria Bianco. The Mariners started Cody Martin in this game, and the tied the Angels. That is Spring Training in a sentence, as good as any I suppose.
- Two players stood out in today's game. The first was Stefen Romero, who despite being in the waning half of his 20's and having a career .549 OPS in the major leagues is causing quite a ruckus by refusing to ever get out. Coming into the game with a .450 BA Romero went 3-4, and coupled with buzzwords like " looks physically different" and "texts Edgar" it's easy and oh so very tempting to hope that somehow the Mariners are going to manufacture a major league contributor out of organizational flotsam.
Unfortunately both for our daydreams and Stefen Romero him hitting almost .500 in a handful of Cactus League at-bats means almost next to nothing. Say it with me: "I will not get caught up in Spring Training stats, because they are all inherently SSS and take place in non-MLB competitive situations." Say it. SAY IT!
I have nothing against Stefen Romero, and when I have a chance to watch some games on TV I will look carefully to see what, if any changes, he may have made this offseason. But after spending this morning preparing myself to say goodbye to Jesus Montero let me just say I will be way, way, way more surprised if Stefen Romero is on this team on Opening Day than Montero.
- The other player of note today was Donn Roach. The 26 year old right-hander pitched three scoreless innings, and struck out six, including at one point five in a row. It lowered his Spring ERA to 2.16, and for a bullpen that resembles a triage hospital these days Roach probably now deserves to be at least considered for a back-end spot along with Joel Peralta and others.
"But Nathan you just told me not to look at spring stats! You made me say the words!" That's true, and you were very good for doing that. However if there is one exception to those words I made you write on your heart just now it's the back end of a bullpen, particularly an injured bullpen.
Whoever makes the Mariners sixth and seventh relief spot is not going to be counted on for more than 15-25 innings before, hopefully, reinforcements arrive as players get healthy. With pitchers notoriously fickle, and relief pitchers doubly so, an off the radar name can make a roster with a strong spring, at least much easier than a position player can.
So keep Donn Roach on your mind if you like. Or don't. It's just Spring Training, and we've got weeks left until the game count.