Ah yes, senior year of high school, I remember it vividly. A time of uncertainty, standardized tests and leaving your old life behind to embark on whatever life you make for yourself.
A huge part of this time of your life for many kids my age is figuring out if/where they want to pursue a higher education.
As I have learned over the past 16 months or so, nowhere is perfect. Some schools have the perfect program, but are situated in a terrible town. Some schools might have both, but cost an arm and a leg. Thus, at this point in the collegiate game of musical chairs, I have perfected the art of the pros and cons lists. If a simple tool like this can be applied to the biggest decision of my life so far, why can’t it be applied to something like, I don’t know, the Mariners March 1st Spring Training game against the Chicago Cubs?
Pro: JP Crawford.
JP is quietly having a really nice start to Spring Training and it continued today here in the first. After a leadoff Jake Fraley groundout, JP singled on a line drive to right field which would be his only hit in the three appearances this afternoon. For the Spring as a whole, JP is batting a nice .955 OPS which is good and nice until you see that his opponent quality thus far is at 7.3 where 7 acts as your average AA player and 10 acts as your average full time MLB-er. Nonetheless, after a big offseason the hot start is nice to see.
Con: Kendall Graveman
Graveman was making it through the top of the rotation nicely, forcing Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo into groundouts until he allowed a Javier Baez line drive single into center field. After this, the Gravedigger’s command seemed to vanish from him, as he promptly walked Jason Heyward, allowing Baez to advance on a wild pitch and putting Willson Contreras on base via a HBP to load the bases. Graveman would be able to pull it back together, however, striking out Jason Kipnis to end the inning unscathed.
Pro: After watching the M’s side get retired in order, Graveman thought that looked like fun and put away the Cubbies 1-2-3 striking out two Cubs in the process. After a shaky first inning, it was nice to see him carry the momentum from his K to end the first into the second. While the first inning wasn’t ideal, he still tossed two scoreless innings to open the game.
Con: The trio of Dan VogelBACH, as the announcing team insisted on calling him, Austin Nola, and Jose Marmolejos went down in order with the latter striking out. Not a terrible inning by M’s standards at all though.
Pro: To open the inning, José Marmolejos had a really nice sliding grab of what would have been a Kris Bryant double in left field.
Marmolejos would also make another nice play defensively later in the game throwing out a runner at the plate. Per Ryan Divish, he is a name that has impressed Scott Servais and the rest of his coaching staff so far this spring.
Jose Marmolejos, who has caught the eye of Scott Servais and his staff, makes his second solid play in left field, throwing out a runner at the plate. He had a tough sliding catch on the warning track earlier.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) March 1, 2020
Con: After being bailed out by Marmolejos for the first out, Kendall Graveman replacement Sam Delaplane walked the bases loaded (that’s what we do here right?). Following in Graveman’s footsteps even further, he got Contreras to strike out before getting Jason Kipnis to pop out, ending the inning with no real damage done.
Pro: Kyle Lewis walked? Mallex Smith made a nice catch to close the inning in center? I’m sorry, I’m truly grasping at straws here.
Con: Cody Anderson would replace Sam Delaplane here in the fourth but didn’t want to continue the trend set by the two pitchers before him. Instead Anderson would blaze his own trail to the tune of an Albert Almora homerun on his first pitch of the inning, putting the Cubs up 1-0. Kris Bryant would double two outs later as well before being stranded when Anthony Rizzo flew out harmlessly (maybe that could have been the pro of this inning?).
Pro: Austin Nola and Mallex Smith each singled before getting stranded, does this count as progress in the Pro department? This is also the inning where Marmolejos gunned down the runner at home, a rare actually good thing that happened in this inning.
Con: Cody Anderson returned to the mound with much improvement his second inning around. As opposed to the fourth where it only took him one (1) pitch to give up a home run, in the fifth it took five (5) until Javy Baez put one out of play for a leadoff home run (again, does this count as progress?). To the joy of Cubs fans everywhere, Anderson would remain in the game and give up three more singles and a double before the inning could end, scoring two more and leaving the score at 4-0. Oh yeah, JP Crawford and 2020 Mariners franchise cornerstone Patrick Wisdom also collided on an infield fly. Both were fine but it was a bit unsettling to watch nonetheless.
Cody Anderson didn’t pitch Jake Fraley would open the inning with a walk, and one out later Kyle Lewis would single off a blooper to right field before Fraley would be brought home via Daniel Vogelbach single. The Mariners sit in comfortable striking distance of the Cubs at 1-3, we’ve got em right where we want them! [Narrator: they did not have them right where they wanted them.]
Con: Carl Edwards Jr would be brought in here in the sixth, walking one, getting a strike out/throw ‘em out double play, and forcing a groundout. The con of this inning is having the last one so recent in your mind.
Pro: Jarred Kelenic single! Yay! Maybe we can teach him how to pitch relief too!
Con: Yohan Ramirez would replace Carl’s Jr, and while he didn’t turn in quite as bad of an inning as Cody Anderson before him, boy did he try! Like many of the M’s relievers this year, the stuff is very present; however the command is not. Yohan displayed this beautifully, walking three batters and allowing two singles, scoring two and loading the bases before being pulled. Dayeison Arias would pick up the final out via strikeout and he even made me smile in the process! #Dayeison4Closer? Mariners trail 6-1.
Dayeison Arias has cut off his signature twists but I would recognize this arm action anywhere. Promising young pitcher in the organization. pic.twitter.com/OsD59S9WmA— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) March 1, 2020
Pro: Brian O’Keefe would score after a walk and steal on a Braden Bishop single into right field. Braden would advance to third on a throwing error before Tim Lopes would bring him home on a single, cutting the deficit to 6-3.
Con: Gerson Bautista would come in to pitch relief here in the eighth and should have been out of the inning with no damage, but Julio badly misread a ball in the sun and then looked a little stunned at having missed such an easy out, allowing the rare sun triple to something called Donnie Dewees, who would later score on a sac fly. Gerson’s command actually looked pretty good this time out yet his stuff still looked as stuff-y as it ever has. Mariners still trail, but trail 7-3 this time (if its different does that mean its better?)
Pro: JULLLIIIOOOOO made up for his outfield miscue a little with a sharply-struck single. Alen Hansooooooon (it will catch on I promise) also had an infield single because #wheels. It was nice to see Julio get his second hit of the Spring as he has struggled a bit out of the gate here with the premium breaking stuff of pro pitchers.
Con: Mariners lose. No more baseball for the day. Tim Lopes hasn’t signed his multi-year extension yet.
Bonus pro: The M’s will take on Rockies tomorrow for another opportunity to throw, hit and catch baseballs, among other things. (Although con: it won’t be on TV, and will be delayed on radio, so the only way to follow the game live will be on MLB.com.) Go Mariners. Go Tim Lopes. Go Dayeison Arias.