‘Twas the last day of spring training, and all around Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, nary a flying fack was given. Joey Wong was called Gordon Beckham, Kyle Petty was called Justin Seager, Jay Baum was called Chantz Mack (?). Many, many first pitches were swung at. Canó hit a ball to the moon, but it hooked just foul. Overall, it was a pretty typical last-game-of-spring-training game, with everyone just trying to not faceplant as they crossed the finish line.
For the Mariners pitching today, however, this was the last chance to offer a strong final impression for a pair of starters who have arguably the largest question marks around them, in Yovani Gallardo and Ariel Miranda. Gallardo, whose fastball sat 91-93 mph, worked the first three innings, giving up just two hits, no runs and no walks. At times his control looked spotty as he missed high and inside, and he didn’t strike anyone out, but he did manage to retire Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu, and Nolan Arenado 1-2-3 to begin the game, and got an inning-ending double play to get out of the second inning. He also showed off a nasty trapdoor changeup that had batters fooled badly.
Ariel Miranda, newly minted fourth starter, took over after that, and he looked strong over five innings of work, scattering just three hits to go along with five strikeouts. Granted, the deeper Miranda went in the game, the higher the uniform numbers of the people he was retiring, but both LeMahieu and phenom Trevor Story were among the outs he got. Miranda’s one blemish was a solo shot off the bat of Nolan Arenado off a pitch that was well-located high and inside; Nolan Arenado continues to be not fair. Gameday lists every single pitch Miranda threw today as a slider, and while he has been working on that pitch, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t throwing both a 94 and 82-mph slider. He also surrendered just one walk, to known free-swinger Gerardo Parra; Miranda worked him off the plate, trying to get him to chase a fastball Gameday has at 95 mph (it also has that pitch listed as a slider, though, so take that with a grain of salt), but Parra exhibited some uncharacteristic restraint and collected his walk. Other than that, Miranda controlled the zone well, working ahead of hitters most of the time and throwing 38 of his 58 pitches for strikes.
Offensively, the starters weren’t able to get anything going over the first four innings, and a potential rally in the fifth was killed when Taylor Motter was caught stealing and Carlos Ruíz grounded out to end the inning. Justin Seager didn’t hit that double for nothing, you guys. The Mariners got their one run thanks to the 2016 Bakersfield Blaze, when Brock Hebert (okay, fine, he was at Jackson) and Chantz Mack singled, and then HR Derby Champ of the California League hit an RBI single. This inning, too, was shortened when Mack, who is not the speediest little sparkplug ever, tried to get into third on the single and was thrown out. It was not a great day on the base paths for the Mariners, who were 0-for-2 on stolen base attempts. The Cactus Cup could have been ours, you guys, come on.
The Rockies almost came out the victors in the contest in the ninth. After Dan Altavilla got the first out, Servais made a pitching change to Casey Fien, which just feels like a personal insult. Fien promptly gave up a double to Christhian Adames, who hit a robust .218 last year. Adames was then sent to third on a sac fly by the excellently-named Rockies prospect Correlle Prime, and then Juan Ciriaco hit what should have been the game-winning single, but OU product and teeny tiny person Austin Grebeck zoomed forward and laid out for a spectacular diving catch to preserve the tie. The gods of spring training sure like to be heavy-handed with their metaphors, eh?
Next time you read a recap on this website, it will be about a baseball game that counts. Thanks for sticking with us over the off-season, especially as the face of the site continues to change. Speaking on behalf of everyone at LL, we are excited to spend this season with you. GOMS.