I couldn’t help but laugh at myself when I realized I was sitting on the couch in a Mariners jersey watching a meaningless Spring Training game. For a second, it had felt like the real deal as Mike Blowers ran through the starting lineups and I watched Drew Smyly toe the rubber with a familiar Root Sports graphic behind him. Then I realized it’s still early March, and we still have 24 of these games left. Oh well, you take what you can get, and today we got a massacre of the Texas Rangers which is a nice consolation prize to real baseball.
Today Drew Smyly gave Mariners fans a preview of what it could look like when he is firing on all cylinders. He pitched three scoreless frames and was particularly sharp in the first, retiring the side with only ten pitches. Since his signing, Smyly has been advertised as a predominantly fly ball pitcher who can also rack up the strikeouts when he is on. Today he did just that. Over the course of this three innings, Smyly recorded every out via either strikeout or flyball/popout. He finished the day with three strikeouts, allowing only one hit and one walk.
The rest of the pitching staff followed suit, combining to shut out the Texas Rangers in what we all hope will be a sign of things to come in the regular season. I’ve been told Spring Training stats usually transfer directly into regular season outcomes. I was particularly impressed with Max Povse as he managed to pitch two innings using only 14 pitches.
On the offensive side of the ball, Mike Zunino got the scoring started for the Mariners in the second, blasing a no doubter onto the top of the berm behind the left field fence. Yeah, don’t even bother turning around, Joey Gallo.
In the following inning, Dan Vogelbach plated Mitch Haniger by aiming a blooper just beyond the reach of a diving Joey Gallo. Shortly afterwards, Vogelbach scored from first on a Zunino double to the gap in left-center. Yes, you read that correctly, Vogelbach scored from first… That’s what speed do?
Fun fact: Dan Vogelbach weighed 290 lbs as a high school sophomore.
Later in the third, Taylor Motter made his case to be the everyday second baseman, ripping a two run homer over the centerfield fence to give the Mariners a 6-0 lead. The other second base candidate, Robinson Cano, has hit zero home runs this spring.
In the fifth inning, the Mariners were a bit less glamorous with their scoring. Shawn O’Malley plated Taylor Motter on a fielder's choice, and Jarrod Dyson scored Gillermo Heredia in the ensuing at bat with a fielder’s choice of his own. That was was the end of Dyson’s day as he was pinch run for by Boog Powell who promptly got picked off to end the inning.
The Mariners looked to be mounting another threat in the sixth with bases loaded and no outs until Vogelbach grounded into a double play, stifling the rally, but scoring a run in the process. The inning ended with the Mariners leading 9-0, and the score would stay that way for the remainder of the game.
Here are a couple other notes from the game:
- Guillermo Heredia continued to wage his campaign for the 4th outfield spot with this catch in the fourth. On offense he finished the day going one for three with a run scored.
- Mariners assistant hitting coach Scott Brosius had a chat with Dave Sims and Mike Blowers about Mike Zunino and Mitch Haniger.