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Whatever it Takes: Mariners hide strike zone from Padres in Spring Training victory

Is it over yet?

MLB: New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It was like watching a game out of a low level Little League tournament. With all of the best pitchers unavailable that day and the starter’s day over, the coach turns to the kids who’ve been begging to pitch all year long. “Just throw strikes,” the coach says.

“All I need is for you to throw strikes.”

The Seattle Mariners (2-0) pummeled the San Diego Padres (0-2) for the second consecutive game, cruising to a breezy 13-2 victory in their second game of Spring Training. Throughout the contest, one thing was incredibly evident: Padres pitching could’ve used a magnifying glass or a microscope or even the Hubble Telescope, but they were never ever going to find the strike zone.

The first six pitchers the Padres trotted out combined for an absurd 14 walks in just six innings. Both Michael Kelly and Dinelson Lamet managed to walk four batters each without ever recording an out. It was, for lack of a better word or phrase, a tire fire covered in garbage with Matt Kemp shirseys thrown on top. Even considering the very low standards set during the early stages of Spring Training, it was bizarre.

When the Mariners weren’t walking, they were doing other things with the bat, finishing the day with 11 base hits. Nelson Cruz homered again, teeing off on starter Zach Lee for a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the second inning.

Considering everything we’ve seen from Nelson Cruz and everything we’ve seen from Zach Lee during their times with the Mariners, the fact that Lee kept the ball inside the state lines is probably a victory worth celebrating. Good job, Mr. Lee.

Tyler O’Neill, Mike Freeman, and Danny Valencia also contributed doubles in the effort. Players who took multiple walks in the game were: Valencia, Robinson Cano, O’Neill, and Carlos Ruiz. The Mariners have now outscored the Padres 26-5 in the first two games of Spring Training.

On the pitching side of things, it was another game that heavily consisted of Mariners pitchers pitching to contact successfully. The arms only tallied four strikeouts, but finished with zero walks allowed for the second consecutive day.

Starter Chris Heston turned in an easy two-inning day, surrendering just one hit and cruising through the heart of the order. Dillon Overton followed with an equally sturdy outing, generating five groundouts and a strikeout in two innings. Pat Venditte, Dean Kiekhefer, and Nick Hagadone all turned in scoreless innings as they battle for a spot in the bullpen.

All of the Padres’ offensive output came against Christian Bergman, a non-roster invitee who signed a minor league deal with the Mariners this offseason. In his two innings of work, Bergman surrendered 2 runs on 5 hits, including a RBI-single by former Mariner Luis Sardinas.

Some notes on the performance:

  • Tyler O’Neill went 1-for-2 with a double and two walks in his first start of Spring Training
  • Guillermo Heredia went 0-for-3 at the plate, but he provided shiny defense out in center field, including this catch
  • Boog Powell collected his first hit of the spring, singling in the 7th inning.
  • If you tried following this game on Gameday, I would like to present you with this award for your courage and bravery:
  • The Mariners return to action tomorrow, taking on the Royals at 12:10 PT