Top o’the recap to you, friends! Today is the day we all pretend to be a little bit Irish, because no one minds cultural appropriation when it comes with a shot of whiskey. Shawn O’Malley did not get to start today, which is some real o'malarkey, but the sweet roses at the Mariners account have our backs:
James Paxton did get to start today and the initial hope was he would go five innings. You know who else had hopes? Potato farmers in 1845. After a strong start to quickly retire the first two batters, Paxton hit a little bit of a rough patch and gave up a two-run homer to Danny Valencia, who is having himself a nice little spring. Here is where I would tell you the velocity on these pitches but Hohokam Stadium, in addition to being named like a venue from Katamari Damancy, does not trouble itself with petty human things like radar guns. The second inning looked like a funhouse mirror image of the first, with Paxton again quickly retiring the first two batters and then giving up a walk and hitting a batter before Coco Crisp smacked a two-run double. This time, however, Paxton added an RBI double and on the throw in from Daniel Robertson the ball took a wicked hop into the face of Ketel Marte. If any of you who are at Spring Training see Ketel out on the town, buy him a green beer and say sorry from us. Paxton then walked bearded compound escapee Josh Reddick before getting a strikeout to end the inning and for the second day in a row the Mariners were facing a five-run deficit before most people in the stands had finished their first beer. Paxton would exit the game with seven runs charged to him in just two innings and suddenly the race between Paxton and Karns for the final spot in the rotation is as wide open as the rolling hills of the Emerald Isle.
Paxton was lifted for David Rollins, who managed to get a sacrifice fly, followed by a double play thanks to a nifty move by Luis Sardinas at third base. Also sparkling defensively was Dae Ho Lee, who made a nice diving grab at first base:
As spring marches on, things seem to be getting clearer at the first base position, and Jesus Montero has now taken to posting encouraging affirmations on his instagram to the tune of "sometimes you have to have the worst to get to the best," etc. DHL got the start because Stefen Romero was a late scratch from the game with no reason given yet. Maybe his Irish step dance group had a performance across town. Hopefully it’s not a lingering ill effect from the knee-two-three play of a couple weeks ago.
The Mariners, for their part, decided to hurry the game along and not get any hits to start the game so people could get out to the bars in Phoenix in time for happy hour to drink that one Irish beer everyone pretends to like that’s basically a liquefied loaf of bread. However, Robinson Cano looked at the Cruz-less, Seager-less lineup, shrugged, and hit a two-run homer, because Robinson Cano is not capable of inelegance. *Standard spring training disclaimer* but Cano looks great this spring and I hope every homerun he hits this year somehow finds a way to fly to Andy Van Slyke’s house and break all the windows. Rob Brantly looked up Safeco on Flickr and decided he wanted to stay, thanks very much, and hit a solo homerun. The backup catcher battle might be a second-half spring storyline to watch.
The A’s added a run to hold a 9 - 3 lead going into the top of the 9th. Chris Taylor flied out and then Braden Bishop kind of wiggled his way onto base because his molecules move faster than most humans and then Mike Zunino stepped to the plate and well, we know how this ends, right? But the great thing about spring training is that anything can happen, and it does. Spring training games are often chaotic, and today this game was governed by the Celtic chaos-god Cythrawl himself because after Mike Zunino tripled (!), Shawn O’ Malley did his best Finn MacCool impression and swung the bat like he was ten feet tall, doubling in Zunino and taking third on a wild pitch, and in doing so somehow rearranged the geography of the field such that the string of Athletics pitchers in this inning (three!) fell into a hole where they couldn’t find the strike zone. The Mariners would wind up sending fourteen people to the plate and scoring eight runs to climb out to an 11 - 9 lead. However, Cythrawl delights in mayhem and making writers on deadline miserable, and Matt Anderson would not be able to repeat his 1-2-3 inning, giving up a run and being lifted for Osmer Morales, who also gave up a run before he was able to record the final out, for a decidedly anticlimactic 11 - 11 tie. In the end, only Cythrawl wins.
dul fhoireann Mariners