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Mariners Small Ball Their Way to Win Over Cleveland, Prove They Are World Series Contenders

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Spring Training hyperbole is a time tested tradition

MLB: Spring Training-Seattle Mariners at Chicago White Sox Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The start of Spring Training games is often frustrating because they aren’t televised and Gameday is working out its spring kinks. I see it as a great chance to enjoy baseball on the radio. Radio baseball was the soundtrack of my childhood and it still evokes a special kind of nostalgia, Americana, and romanticism.

I have learned that radio broadcasts don’t have any sympathy for game recappers relying solely on their words to tell the story of the game. Cleveland’s radio play-by-play announcer, the talkative Tom Hamilton, was a guest during the 4th and 5th innings, so I’m a little fuzzy on the exact happenings. Luckily, he finished pontificating on Cleveland’s pennant-winning 2016 season in time for the fun part of the game.

Never having scored a full Spring Training game I have some unpleasant words for my scorebook, which only has room for one substitution per lineup spot and three pitchers. It led to a bit of a mess, as you can see:

Let’s take a look at the details of the Mariners 7-4 victory.

Drew Smyly made his first appearance for the Mariners, kicking the game off with two hitless innings. Yan Gomes reached base on a walk, but was thrown out by Zunino trying to steal second. Edwin Diaz got in an inning during the Tom Hamilton innings. He struck out one and allowed one hit, but no runs.

The only video from the game today is of that strikeout:

The big pitching appearance of the day came in the bottom of the fifth inning. Thyago Vieira made his highly anticipated debut. He struck out the first batter he faced, and touched triple digits according to Rick Rizzs on the radio and Ryan Divish on Twitter:

It’s encouraging to see he made adjustments within the inning.

Starting for Cleveland was amateur drone enthusiast Trevor Bauer. He pitched three innings, giving up four hits. Drew Smyly only pitched two innings, but gave up no hits. Mariners win the battle of the starting pitchers.

Most of the Mariners’ offensive production came in the top of a fun sixth inning. Mike Zunino led off with double. His pinch runner, Jay Baum, scored on Tyler O’Neill’s one-out followup double. Non-roster invite Tyler Smith, making the start at shortstop, hit the ball at Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor. Tyler O’Neill advanced to third on the play, drawing the throw and allowing Smith to reach on a fielder’s choice. Boog Powell dropped down a running bunt, scoring O’Neill and reaching first for an RBI infield single. I suppose bunting isn’t always bad.

The inning and the scoring continued with Leonys Martin’s RBI double and Zach Shank’s RBI single.

We didn’t see any home runs from the Mariners today. The produced their seven runs with fourteen hits, seven of which were doubles, and four walks.

Notes:

  • Evan Scribner pitched the third inning. He threw first pitch balls to 3 batters, resulting in outs. The only time he threw a first pitch strike, to Michael Martinez, it was hit for a home run.
  • Boog Powell made his first start of the spring. He will begin the season completing his 80-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. Scott Servais was quoted this morning sounding like they didn’t give him much of a shot at redeeming himself. The smart RBI bunt base hit is a good first step for him.
  • Adam Moore, former Mariners catcher, had one hit in a brief appearance for Cleveland.
  • Today marks the 40-year anniversary of the beginning of the first-ever Spring Training for the Mariners.

Next up, the Mariners travel back to Peoria to face the Milwaukee Brewers at 12:10 tomorrow. Still no TV, but we are getting closer to the first televised game on Sunday.