Today the Seattle Mariners lost a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians. It is the third baseball game they have dropped in the past thirty hours, and it brought their Spring Training record down below .500 at 9-10. This is a good thing.
Well, okay, maybe not good. But it's certainly something--and it is, I honestly believe, proof of things working themselves out in the right direction. On one hand, the only thing that actually means anything during Spring Training are ligaments detaching within elbows. It's all too obvious to say that results don't matter, but the more you start repeating that to yourself, you might ignore when results tell you something else.
Take, for instance, Wade Miley. Wade Miley earned himself somewhat of an unsexy boxscore this afternoon, giving up three runs and a walk through five innings. His fastball velocity is still down a good two ticks below where he was last year, and he does weird stuff like this sometimes:
Two weird stinkers and then a dinger. His second dinger, in fact, to the same danged batter. But these two homers were the only runs Miley gave up on the day. He also sailed through five innings with only 59 pitches, and earned three strikeouts in the process. So this, like everything else, doesn't really tell us anything. Or it tells us something. I don't know. If it tells us anything, it's that there is a factory out there somewhere where they just churn out middle-of-the-rotation durable lefty inning eaters who sometimes make you roll your eyes but mostly just kind of do their job. Just pretend they traded Vargas for a younger version of himself and then we'll, eh.
The Mariners losing the game also doesn't tell you that Steve Cishek, who had missed some time due to [INSERT CAUTIONARY INJURY AVOIDANCE MEASURE HERE I DON'T WANT TO BE BLAMED FOR BY NAMING], threw a thirteen-pitch fourth and notched three quick groundouts. He's still only throwing his sinker, but his velocity is also still around 89-90 so uh...here, be thankful for the rising and the setting of the sun:
The Mariners mostly got random hits here and there, not stringing anything together much besides a quick, productive bottom of the seventh. Dae-Ho Lee made it to first base after wearing an 84 mph cutter, trotted to second and third after two sucessive passed balls by Guillermo Quiroz (really think they should have just given him the steal here), and scored on a Daniel Robertson single a few minutes later. That it was the only thing strung together on the day isn't a huge deal, that it was entirely the result of three accidents is pretty typical Mariners. Or "Tuesday night in May" if you'd rather.
The REAL good news for the day is Mayckol Guaipe. Look at this shit:
Last year, Guaipe threw 26 innings and lost more than half a win worth of value. That tells you something about Mayckol Guaipe but it also should tell you something about how awful that bullpen was last year. Well, it's certainly a lot different, but whether or not it's going to be any better is another question entirely. Today Guaipe got three quick outs in an inning of work, and threw only two balls in 12 pitches. I don't know anything about this might mean, or even if it's a thing, but the slider he was throwing today was a good three to four MPH slower than his average last year. Look at that, 78, 79, then 92 and 82. Whether Guaipe is going to turn all of this into anything productive is one question. If he does, it's going to look a lot like this.
The Mariners take on the Dodgers tomorrow at 1, and it's Kuma on the mound against his replacement in LA, Kenta Maeda. Spring can get so obnoxious, but if there is one single don't-miss game all year, it's probably going to be that one.