The M’s dropped an evening affair with the Colorado Rockies tonight, 3-2, despite Mariners pitching racking up 14 punchouts.
Mike Leake picked up right where he left off his last time out, coming out of the gates getting ahead of batters and throwing first pitch strikes (which he did to all three batters he faced in a six-pitch first inning). Dee Gordon promptly responded in the bottom half of the first by reaching on a bunt base hit for what I swear is already the 15th time this spring, and then swiping second base. The Mariners got to Rockies starter German Marquez on an opposite field line drive by Robinson Cano before Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager went down swinging. Leake continued to pound the zone into his second inning of work, pitching largely off of his breaking stuff and limiting hard contact, despite allowing a pair of singles.
The M’s defense suffered a couple of mishaps in the third inning, the first of which came on a ground ball between third and short that Jean Segura ranged to his right to backhand, but his throw short-hopped first baseman Mike Ford, who couldn’t manage to come up with it. While Jean’s throw was by no means perfect, it was probably a ball that the average major league first baseman comes up with, and was a shining example of why vertically challenged (for a first baseman) players such as Ford often times don’t stick at the position. A couple batters later, Cameron Perkins did his best Raul Ibanez impression—apparently coming up with a handful upon fishing a line drive off the warning track—and spiked an attempted throw back to the infield, allowing Mike Tauchman to round the bases on what probably should have been only a triple.
Leake, making his third start of Cactus League play, maintained command of his breaking pitches throughout the duration of his outing, needing just 48 pitches to make it through four innings. His batterymate on the night, Mike Zunino, connected for a solo home run on a 2-1 fastball that Rockies reliever Chris Rusin left up in the zone, his first on the spring.
The freshly-shaven James Pazos, making his fourth appearance of the spring, took over in the fifth inning. Having struggled with his command early on in the spring, Pazos was able to work mostly within the strike zone in tonight’s outing, collecting two strikeouts and surrendering just one hit in his lone inning of work. Dan Altavilla followd by picking up a pair of strikeouts in his single inning, bringing his strikeout total to eight compared to just one base runner allowed through four innings. 2017 breakout reliever Art Warren managed to throw another zero up on the board for M’s relievers by splitting up his two hits allowed with three strike outs of his own in his first career Cactus League outing.
Chasen Bradford and Casey Lawrence closed out the the game each with an impressive inning—albeit against almost exclusively Rockies minor leaguers—by striking out two and three batters respectively.
The M’s return to action with another night game tomorrow, when they take on the Oakland A’s at 5:40pm, which you can catch on ROOT Sports. Marco Gonzales gets the start for the Mariners, looking to build off of three innings of shutout ball last time out.