Spring training can be fun to follow even from afar. Some days, we get to watch on TV as our beloved Mariners play and frolic and romp in the sun, with new players wearing the teal and gray for the first time. Some days, we get to enjoy quality pitching and see really big numbers on the radar gun. Some days, we even get to watch the M’s win.
Today was not one of those days.
In arguably the least-ballyhooed spring training game of the Mariners’ Cactus League slate thus far, the Rangers triumphed over the M’s 8-2 in a contest that everyone tried to forget about immediately. To wit: Not only did the Mariners only last seven pitches in the ninth inning, Rick Rizzs brought up the Whitman College baseball team at the same time. Yes, D-III baseball came up while actual major league baseball was being played.
How did things get to this? Well, MLB Gameday is still struggling along, so it’s a bit hard to tell you the full story.
Six different pitchers saw action for the Mariners:
- Hisashi Iwakuma, who allowed some deep fly balls and one earned run in his two innings of work.
- Nick Vincent, who kept alive worries about his propensity to allow homers by allowing a homer on the first pitch of the inning.
- Dillon Overton, a lefty who gave up a dinger to Joey Gallo. This might not be bad, except that Gallo is a lefty. In his 43 career MLB plate appearances against lefties (yes, yes, small sample size and all), Gallo is hitting .125/.186/.275. So, no, if you want a spot on the big league squad, Dillon, don’t allow Joey Gallo to hit a homer.
- Marc Rzepczynski, the only M’s hurler not to allow a run today.
- Ryan Weber, a real live player for the Seattle Mariners, and someone about whom I can tell you nothing. He’s one of those guys who got lost in the Jerry Dipoto Trading Shuffle. Anyway, he allowed a first-pitch homer to Drew Robinson, whom I have also never heard of.
- Dan Altavilla, one of my favorites, walked a pair to start the 8th before allowing a double and a single.
After the game, Scott Servais said that the “pitching wasn’t obviously sharp today...left some balls up, some first-pitch home runs. That’s going to happen.”
Beyond that, the Mariners had a few nice moments (though few and far between). Servais singled out Mitch Haniger, aka John Trupin’s Favorite Son, for praise, and his longball to the deepest part of the ballpark off some guy named Connor Sadzeck was a welcome sight.
Sadzeck was born in Barrington, IL, the birthplace of Mariners Hall of Famer Dan Wilson as well as John’s mom. This should clearly be interpreted as a sign that Mitch Haniger is going to be a Mariners Hall of Famer some day.
On the defensive side of things, it’s noteworthy to see Jarrod Dyson manning center field in lieu of Leonys Martin. This isn’t a surprise, though there have been murmurs that Haniger could also be an above-average centerfielder, but one wonders if Dyson might even get some permanent time in CF, shifting Martin to right.
Either way, Dyson looked okay out there, especially when he and Robinson Canó teamed up on a nice relay to gun down Ryan Rua trying to stretch a double into a triple.
Servais also singled out Boog Powell in his post-game radio soundbite, which is interesting since Powell had two groundouts and a line drive single today. Perhaps he’s slowly working his way out of the doghouse.
Beyond that, Robbie continues to walk a lot...
Cano has walked in first two ABs today vs. Rangers. He's drawn 7 walks in first 14 plate appearances this spring. #controlthezone— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) March 3, 2017
...and that’s about it.
Were this a regular season game, I’d be lamenting when we left the bases juiced in the first inning, or the two errors committed by Haniger and Dyson, or the decision to pitch six guys in a single game and none for more than two innings.
But it’s not. This game doesn’t matter. It’s a reminder that better days are to come, and until then, we’ll just keep making mountains out of the perpetual molehill that is the Cactus League.