Today the Mariners played the Diamondbacks in an exhibition baseball game. It was the Mariners sixth Spring Training contest thus far, just enough for them to start egging on my patience. There are twenty-four games left in the Mariners' Cactus League schedule, although it feels like hundreds. The divide between us and regular season baseball seems to stretch into a chasm beyond our ability to reckon, but a quick glance at the calendar shows a scant four weeks from today we'll do it all for real. We'll sit down together to watch Felix under a Texas sky, and we'll see, well, whatever is to be.
For today, we're still gazing ahead at weeks of games like today. Weeks of Donn Roach giving up nine hits to get four outs, Tyler Smith TOOTBLAN'ing off of 3rd base, of Gaby Sanchez entering games as a pinch-runner. Spring Training baseball is not real baseball, and we engage it on the absurdist level that it presents itself. We can find comedy, and often error, in equal measure. But little is gained, and nothing is proven in the heat of Arizona.
Today the Mariners lost 10-8. It didn't matter a fig. Let's do it again tomorrow.
- Starting for the Mariners today was James Paxton. The tall, newly svelte left-hander was scheduled to throw three innings today, and he completed that assignment. In the 1st inning Paxton labored, throwing 25 pitches, and giving up two runs on four hits, the big one an RBI double from Welington Castillo, whom you will remember from watching him hit seventeen home runs after being traded from the Mariners to Arizona.
In the 2nd inning Paxton cruised, and set down the Diamondbacks in order.
But in the 3rd Paxton again was not sharp, allowing two ground ball singles before a three-run home run by, oh hey, Welington Castillo.
There's little to nothing to read into any of this, at least not that we can see. We don't know what the Mariners had asked Paxton to focus on in this outing, we don't know if he was paying special care to work in his new changeup. Gameday classified the majority of his pitches as 89-91 "cutters" which is far from Paxton's best stuff.
It was a Spring Training start, and largely unless players, coaches, or beat writers tell us otherwise we are stuck groping blindly in the dark for what means what. In Spring playing your best baseball is not the primary goal, and that is the number one thing to remember about Spring Training.
- That doesn't mean that we can't enjoy the successes that come out of practice baseball, and today's game gave us a few. Kyle Seager got a poorly located 93 MPH fastball from notable name Archie Bradley and crushed it out to right-center for his first home run of Spring. I am on record as expecting another plateau of performance from Seager this year, and so this gave me a special thrill. Go Seags.
- Of foremost importance to this game was one thing, and that is that Korean slugging first baseman and living Baymax cosplay costume Dae-Ho Lee was thrown a very, very bad 2 strike fastball from someone named Matt Reynolds and hit it damn near over the grass berm in left:
This led to David demanding we write 1,000 poems to commemorate Lee's power, which we will do our best to achieve. First from the staff:
Eric - "Sound of wood. Sound is good."
Brendan - "Dae Ho Lee homered
An anonymous pitcher
Can only shudder."
Myself - "Dae-Ho Lee
Who hit it? It was he!
Spinning spheroid gleaming white
Now departed, granted flight
Who hit it? It was he!"
David - "
And so too, do I wish to be. I would hit them here and there, for funs And so too, would Dae-Ho Lee."
Lots of them.
This inspired some community contributions as well:
Please feel free to leave your contribution to this project in the comments. Back at it again tomorrow.