None of the Mariners’ stars were in the lineup today, so the rest of the position players could have been forgiven for providing an unexciting display. Instead, Seattle’s new acquisitions turned Peoria into Emerald Downs as they beat the Reds 7-6. The Mariners recorded six stolen bases, including two from leadoff hitter Jarrod Dyson. In 2016 the Mariners stole three bases once, as a team, and had just five games in which one player stole two bases. This team is flawed, fragile, and far from a sure thing, but another F-word they are Fast.
Speaking of Dyson, his day was a rich, full oyster. He started the day with a bloop single to center field, except that bloop singles to center field for you or me or Kyle Seager are singles, and for Jarrod Dyson they are doubles. While his first double was not cashed in on, another low line drive that narrowly evaded the diving glove of center fielder Desmond Jennings resulted in a second double for Dyson in the 3rd inning. This time, the heart of the order delivered in a better facsimile of the Dominicans they were holding the place of. Taylor Motter, ripped a single to score Dyson, who had advanced to third after drawing a wild pickoff throw. Motter then stole second and, more importantly, delivered his second 80-grade hair flip in as many days.
Mitch Haniger rewarded his high-elf descended teammate with a double clubbed into the left-center gap.
Haniger himself went 3-4 on the day with a stolen base of his own, in a game where eight of the nine Mariners starters recorded at least one hit (sorry Leonys). By the time the 6th inning rolled around and substitutions began to be made, Seattle held a 6-3 lead over the Votto-led half of the Cincinnati roster.
Mike Zunino continued his torrid return as well. and has now walked over a third as many times (six) in 26 plate appearances this Spring Training as he did in 476 PAs in 2015. Since we are contractually obligated to mention his 2015 Spring Training as well, he walked seven times in 62 PAs then. Zu also smashed the ball in his other two at-bats, and looks as encouraging as you can in a small sample Spring. LL emeritus and Mariners social media guru Colin O’Keefe summed the situation up best, if you can stomach the hype that has burned us before:
A 100-110 wRC+ Mike Zunino is probably one of the 30-40 most valuable position players in baseball.— Colin O'Keefe (@colinokeefe) March 11, 2017
Dare to dream, friends.
Chase De Jong started the game and went three innings, allowing three runs and four hits, including a solo homer that was a no-doubter. De Jong is not fighting to make the MLB rotation, so it’s not imminently troublesome for him or the Mariners that he was less than pristine today, but it’d be nice to see a bit more command from the tall righty who was fairly lights-out in AAA last year. Following him up was Andrew Moore, who looked sharp until the 6th inning, where he allowed an uncharacteristic HBP, followed by a homerun to Desmond Jennings.
Moore was relieved by Shae Simmons, who got in on the action by allowing an EXTREMELY uncharacteristic homerun that tied the game 6-6. A few pitches later, following a pickoff throw, he was distressingly removed from the game. Simmons had Tommy John surgery a couple years ago and took a long time to recover fully. His health is the only real barrier between him and a role in the back end of the bullpen, so the speculation on his injury’s nature was fretful. While still not a certainty, Scott Servais seemed less nihilistic afterwards than I felt at the moment.
Servais says Shae Simmons has some tightness in forearm, was taken out as a precaution. Doesn't think it's anything serious.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) March 11, 2017
Cody Martin entered and told the Reds a few jokes while recording outs when nobody was looking, as Cody Martin does. The Mariners took the lead in the top of the 9th with a continuation of the daily theme: patience and speed. Boog Powell started it off with a walk, then advanced to third on a single by new 3rd baseman Joe DeCarlo, who replaced SB-earner Tyler Smith. DeCarlo himself was pinch-ran for by human double Ian Miller, who showed patience of his own by not robbing the Reds, and instead waiting patiently to be moved to third base by a Rayder Ascanio RBI single.
That one-run lead was all James Pazos needed to shred through the dregs of Cincinnati’s roster, encouragingly living just on/off the corners of the plate in a full reversal from his previous outing. 7-6 was the score and the Mariners were the winners. Some folks got married on the lawn. I had fun watching my favorite baseball team look like a group that will be miserable to play against. The best players on the Mariners are playing right now against the United States, and you should definitely go watch that (with us!), but rest assured, this was a good one too.