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Mariners Throw Baseballs Better Than Reds

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Mariners inch closer to clinching Cactus League Cup.

MLB: Spring Training-Kansas City Royals at Seattle Mariners Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

During a sloppy game lacking star power due to illness in the Mariners’ clubhouse, and a general lack of good players in the Reds’, both teams largely forgot how to effectively throw baseballs. The teams combined for eight total walks, three throwing errors, and numerous passed balls. Luckily for the Mariners, they were slightly less bad.

In his first official Cactus League start following a dominant WBC performance, Drew Smyly became Drew Frowny and struggled locating his pitches as he sputtered through only four innings. Smyly was originally set to pitch through the 6th inning if everything went according to plan, but was pulled after issuing his fourth walk at the beginning of the 5th. Smyly finished the day allowing five runs over four innings with four walks and three strikeouts.

Cincinnati second baseman Jose Peraza opened up the scoring in the 1st with a leadoff homer to left on a 1-1 pitch pitch left middle-in.

Taylor Motter answered the following inning by blasting his second homer in as many days over the left field fence, scoring Danny Valencia and giving the Mariners a 2-1 lead. However, the lead only lasted for about 10 minutes as Smyly gave up a pair of solo blasts in the bottom half of the inning, one of them by Reds’ pitcher Rookie Davis.

The Mariners reclaimed the lead in the 4th, scoring on an RBI single by Ben Gamel who was later plated on a throwing error by Reds third baseman Hernan Iribarren. Once again, the lead was short lived as the Reds tied it up with a Zack Cozart double, making it 4-4.

In the top of the 5th, Iribarren tossed the Mariners another run with his second throwing error of the day, but the Mariners predictably coughed up the lead in the bottom half of the inning.

After Smyly issued his fourth walk of the day to start the 5th, Tony Zych came on for his first appearance of the spring and was promptly drilled in the leg by a come-backer. Luckily he was able to shake it off and went on to finish the inning surrendering one run on a sacrifice fly. Overall, it was an encouraging first outing from Zych as his fastball hovered around 95 mph, and he didn’t appear to suffer any setbacks.

Nick Vincent took the ball in the 6th and managed to give up zero home runs. However, he did airmail a pickoff attempt down the first base line that was scooped up by the ballboy and handed to a fan. It’s Spring Training for everyone, I guess. Vincent finished the inning allowing no runs and issued only a single walk.

In the 7th, we got a preview of what Scrabble’s usage will most likely be during the regular season as he came on to retire left-handed hitter Scott Schebler, and then passed the ball to Evan Scribner for the remainder of the inning. Scribner completed the rest of the frame with ease, retiring both of the hitters he faced.

The Mariners finally took the lead for good in the 8th when Danny Valencia scored on a deep sacrifice fly by David Ruiz. Ian Miller added an insurance run with a single up the middle to give the Mariners a 7-5 lead.

Edwin Diaz and James Pazos were entrusted with protecting the lead over the following two innings. Diaz was his usual, dominant self in the 8th, spinning a scoreless frame with two strikeouts in his first appearance since returning from the WBC. Pazos came on in the 9th and slammed eked the door shut after allowing a leadoff homer, and the Mariners won 7-6. Yay.

Notes:

  • Taylor Motter stayed hot, hitting his second homer in two days. He finished the day going 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs and a run scored.
  • Danny Valencia had a sneakily good game going 1 for 3 with 2 runs and an walk. He was also robbed of a solo home run in the 4th inning and had a diving snag on a line drive to first.
  • This game was likely a good indicator of how the bullpen will be used during the regular season (other than Diaz not closing), so it was good to see each guy execute in their allotted role.