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No Mariners were harmed in the making of this win

Or: The Mariners establish with certainty they are vastly superior to the Cubs backups

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago Cubs at Seattle Mariners Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

As tonight’s game concludes we are left with just two Spring Training games remaining, and across the league the hits are coming. Chris Sale took a line drive to the hip. Danny Duffy felt a pop in his shoulder after 32 pitches. Even former Mariners coach Howard Johnson took a scary line drive, although thankfully he seems likely to be okay. It doesn’t matter if you think the Mariners are going to be good or not, they needed to escape today’s game - a game where they effectively ran out their starting lineup - without incident. That mission was a resounding success.

Beyond that, as spring games go, it was rather delightful. Félix Hernández gave up a home run on the first pitch of the game, allowing Cubs uber-prospect Ian Happ to add to a Spring Training where he’s had a 1.293 OPS and 7 HRs in just 48 at-bats. After that, Félix looked fine, with all the good and bad that that entails. He generated significant movement and several swings and misses, but lacked pinpoint control. As a result, he earned strikeouts and weak contact only after working deep into many counts. He reached his ~65 pitch cap in the 4th inning, ceding to a Dan Altavilla who ended the inning with the boredom of a mother cat shooing off a confused rat from its overly ambitious kitten.

It could’ve been sharper from the King, but I suspect it will be enough to earn him what is likely his final Opening Day start this Thursday. While Félix probably won’t go more than five-to-six innings, having an off day immediately following the first game makes a heavier bullpen reliance more manageable early, if that’s the path the Mariners choose.

The 1st-team offense put early pressure on likely Cubs long reliever Eddie Butler, and as we’ve seen a few times this spring already, Dee Gordon and Jean Segura can be a blast back to back. After a leadoff walk, Gordon stole second, then stole Ian Happ’s thunder as he outmaneuvered the center fielder’s throw on a Segura single to score in style.

Noted lots-of-leg-movement-doesn’t-make-you-fast man Kyle Seager was duly impressed.


That lead would never be threatened, as the Mariners would go on to triumph 7-3. If you were looking for results against high-quality opponents, this was not the game to draw conclusions from. Eddie Butler and Alec Mills pitched the majority of the game for the Cubs, and while both are a step up from the fare Spring Training sometimes boasts, each has been a AAA-MLB shuttler over the past few seasons. The aforementioned Ian Happ was joined by Albert Almora Jr. as the only position player in today’s lineup likely to have a significant role on the Cubs roster out of the gate. The lineup included three former Mariners - Mike Freeman, Chris Gimenez, and Jacob Hannemann - each of whom have graced the waiver wire a few times in their careers. It was MLB quality talent the M’s faced, but narrowly.

What is more important was seeing the veterans healthy. Robinson Canó looked as spry as we’ve seen him, hitting the ball in the air with power and even making a slightly rangy play defensively. Jean Segura didn’t look limited offensively by his sore thumb. Ariel Miranda and Marc Rzepczynski executed well. Most crucially, NOBODY GOT HURT.

Do it again tomorrow, do it again Tuesday, and give us a chance to see how this works when the games count. Five Days.