You’d think the Mariners would have learned their lesson last year. The 2017 Mariners eased off the gas pedal toward the end of Spring Training, and were rewarded with a meager third-place finish. Visions of the Cactus Cup turned to ash in the hands of the fans and team. It was not a good way to start 2017.
And yet Scott Servais has decided to bust out the “if it actually is broke, still don’t fix it” strategy. He clearly has not learned from the mistakes of 2017. It’s bemusing, and yet frankly unsurprising. The Mariners were clearly made complacent by the bronze medals and participation trophies from last year’s Spring Training, but hey. Complacency is what we’ve come to expect from the Same Old Trashiners™, and the simple-minded Optimistic Sheeple™ will be content to crow that Spring Training doesn’t matter, or whatever.
I’ll just be over here bemoaning the fact that the Mariners have no championships.
The one saving grace of this game is that, although only three locks for the 25-man roster played, there was some fun and cool stuff to unpack. Too bad it’ll all go to waste!
One of those three players was one Dee Gordon. He probably wouldn’t normally play in a game this early, but word on the street is that Gordon wants to get as many reps as possible in the outfield. He didn’t get any yesterday, but finally did today. As Rick Rizzs was keen to point out, he now has a 1.000 fielding percentage in center field. Good job, Rick.
Dee Gordon walked up to Mike Leake and hugged him in the clubhouse and said, "Mike, thank you for getting me first big league flyball in center field."— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) February 24, 2018
Speaking of Mike Leake, he was the other probably-good member of the three Opening Day locks (the third is Mike Ford, sorry Taylor Motter). Mike Leake was pretty good today! He pitched two scoreless innings. He had no strikeouts, but forced four ground outs, which is encouraging for a pitcher whose success is mostly predicated on a high ground ball rate.
Next came Chase De Jong, who forced some awkward contact with some less-than-great results. The one run that he gave up was overshadowed by this snazzy slide from John Andreoli, who is a real baseball player on the Seattle Mariners.
The major camp battle on display today was the one for the utility role. Andrew Romine and Taylor Motter both played today, and both had relatively strong showings. Motter went 2-for-2, but also had a rather disgusting TOOTBLAN while attempting to advance from first to third on a single. Romine, on the other hand, went 2-for-3, including this two-RBI single in the fourth inning.
While Motter should deservedly get scolded for his TOOTBLAN, Romine probably should have been thrown out here. Fortunately, Scott Servais chose this moment to activate his Welington Castillo Sleeper Agent remote control, and Brother Welington airmailed one into center. I appreciate the effort, Scott. It might have been too little, too late.
Though the Mariners had a 3-1 lead at this point, Servais ceded control of the game by letting a bad outing by Mike Morin go one batter too long. Here’s hoping for a more trigger-happy Servais in the games to come. Otherwise, I am O-U-T on the Mariners this year.
- Evan White, the team’s 2017 first round pick, got some playing time. While he went 0-for-2 at the dish, he had this sweet pick. Please excuse the presence of mic’d up Scott Servais.
- There were some truly obnoxious fans in the crowd today, and it came to a head when they screamed “IN THE FACE” after this one.
- Mariners RHP Nick Rumbelow was forced to leave the game with an injury in the ninth inning after surrendering a run (though the run was mostly the fault of a bad dive attempt by Andrew Aplin, which turned a probable single into a triple). Fortunately, it doesn’t seem serious.
Rumbelow had a little cut on his thumb. Nothing serious. That’s why he was taken out in ninth.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) February 24, 2018
The Mariners will take on the Dodgers tomorrow at the same time. Marco Gonzales will take the hill, which will be fun. The batters will have to work against Clayton Kershaw, which might be less fun. Either way, see you there!