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Mariners test Dodgers, A’s, fail to settle NorCal-SoCal rivalry

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If you have two squads you don’t have one.

Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners
Robbie and Nellie are gone, Kyle’s in charge.
Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

The most exciting part of today’s dual games against the Dodgers and the A’s were as follows: the A’s game was ROOT’s first televised game of the season, which meant that all the questionable facial hair could be seen in full resolution, Yasiel Puig had a monstrous bat flip after smashing a home run off of Team Italy strongman Pat Venditte, and DJ Peterson used approximately seven months worth of futile hopes and dreams to will a ball over the left field fence. Oh, and Félix was a little bit electric, especially if you forget the first two innings.

In the interest of being succinct, and also not dwelling on two mostly lackluster games, we’re going to break this down into a quick summary of each, and then an in-depth look at what we found to be the most compelling moment of the two (hint: it’s Félix. Of course it is.)

Mariners at Dodgers

If you are a fan of baseball and some of the more exciting players the modern game currently boasts, you may have enjoyed this game. 20 year-old Julio Urías was sharp, with two shutout innings and no hits allowed in his Spring Training debut. 1B Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers’ top prospect, a designation that carries more clout than most, had a great day at the plate. Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte gave up a monstrous home run to switch-flipper Yasiel Puig. The Dodg-what’s that? This is a Mariners site? Well, hm. They had players too. I’m sure of it.

Give me a moment... Ah yes!

Andrew Moore was one, and he had by far the most impressive day. The starting pitcher made it through two scoreless innings using just nine pitches. That showing was made all the more impressive with a three pitch strikeout of Bellinger, who romped through the later fare Seattle provided on the mound for him.

Behind Moore, Edwin Díaz was sharp, with a quick scoreless inning of his own. As the 40-man players gave way to the AAA-depth, however, the wheels came off. An anemic offensive display had only two highlights: NRI OF Kyle Waldrop’s three-run homer in the 7th brought about the only scoring of the afternoon for the Mariners. Mike Zunino had a decent day at the plate, showing off his hopefully-improving plate discipline, with two walks in four plate appearances. He now has 4 BBs in 15 PAs this Spring, or just shy of a quarter of his total, in 438 PAs, from the 2014 season (17 BBs, death).

Mariners vs A’s

This game was fine. The pitching was fine; the defense was fine; the offense was fine. Chase De Jong made his Mariners debut, and he was also fine. John likes him, because he has a big, looping curveball that he can throw for strikes. I do not like him, because he has a big, looping curveball that he sometimes leaves hanging over the plate.

Mike Freeman appears to be happy to have cleared waivers, as evidenced by this leaping grab in the second inning.

On the offensive side of things, in keeping with the Spring of Doubles, the two teams combined for six doubles total. The Mariners’ two came from Guillermo Heredia and Dan Vogelbach, the former of whom has now doubled in half his Spring Training games. Boog Powell smacked a triple, which maybe bought him another couple weeks in the org. DJ Peterson plopped a baseball over the left field fence to make the game a little interesting in the 8th, but Tuffy Gosewisch struck out swinging in the bottom of the ninth, and the Mariners lost 5-4. On the pitching side of things, James Pazos and Casey Fien each pitched scoreless innings. Pazos, in particular, had a good outing, touching 95 and striking out two. Peach emoji of Kate’s eye, Thyago Vieira, struggled with his release point and walked three, though he only allowed one run to score. Neither team played particularly dynamic baseball today and, though the Mariners were fine, they couldn’t quite pull off a win.

Highlight of the Day

Félix Hernández wasn’t dominant, and the results were not quite as clean as he or someone glancing at the box score might think, but he was pleasant to watch in a way that was more encouraging than the herky-jerky “maybe he’s figured it out” way that 2016 was riddled with. The game began promisingly enough, with Félix striking out Alejandro De Aza on four pitches, the last of which was a gorgeous called strike fastball on the outside corner of the plate. That brevity wouldn’t last, however, and by the end of the first inning Félix had thrown 27 pitches and the A’s had scored two runs on a trio of well-placed hits.

Hernández did not get flustered, however, and spent the next two innings attacking hitters. The King got first-pitch strikes on every batter in the second and third inning, and 10 of the 13 hitters he faced overall. His fastball ranged from 89-92 mph, in keeping with last week’s start, and seemingly up half a tick from 2016. Equally excitingly, he intentionally worked multiple two-strike fastballs up out of the zone, showing a willingness to use his fastball, velocity be damned. Five K’s and no walks in three innings is good no matter how you slice it. Next stop, Jalisco.

4th Outfielder Tracker: 3/6

Ben Gamel: 0 for 2
Spring Training Totals: 23 PAs, .238/.304/.286, 5/2 K/BB.

Guillermo Heredia: 1 for 2 with a walk, a double, and a stolen base
Spring Training Totals: 15 PAs, .533/.588/1.000, 2/1 K/BB.

Go M’s.