The Mariners check in for the last televised work of the week, as tomorrow is an off-day for everyone. Today’s lineup is...well, it’s a lineup.
Who is Mosimann, you ask? Fret not, it’s not a 36th-rounder you’ve never heard of, but instead the Mariners’ traveling secretary, pressed into duty in left field. The big board operators were as confused as we were:
When the Traveling Secretary is the left fielder there's no Media Guide to use for spelling help: pic.twitter.com/AC13q3mwYI— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 16, 2020
The pitching matchup today features Seattle’s two youngest members of the regular rotation, starting with Justin Dunn, who looked really sharp. Dunn starts his day by retiring Shed Long on an easy groundout and then stings Evan White on this slider with some late tail:
He then walks Tom Murphy on four pitches, though, and loses a protracted battle with Kyle Seager when Seags reaches across the plate and dumps a little flyball over the head of a leaping Kaden Polcovich, and thus it is time for drills.
Justus Sheffield has a rocky start to his day, giving up a ringing double to leadoff batter Braden Bishop, followed by a sharp single off the bat of Austin Nola. Sheff rebounds to get Kyle Lewis to ground out easily and gets Vogelbach way out front on a running fastball to tap into a near-bunt, leading to more drills. Braden Bishop lays down a beautiful bunt, but Raleigh shows more of his explosiveness behind the plate as he springs out of his crouch to field and throw out the speedy Bishop:
Dunn looks even sharper in his second inning, despite starting off by going to a 3-2 count on Crawford; he comes back to get Crawford swinging on a changeup, and then dispatches Tim Lopes and Tom Murphy in similar fashion, going back-to-back on Lopes with breaking balls spotted at opposite ends of the zone:
Back to back breaking balls from Justin Dunn to get Tim Lopes swinging ... pic.twitter.com/jGWm4zWtSL— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 16, 2020
In addition to his slider, which looked sharp with good late bite, Dunn’s changeup looked significantly better today, with some nice late fade and movement that looks like it could particularly be a weapon against lefties:
Justin Dunn with a nasty changeup to JP Crawford for a swinging strike three. pic.twitter.com/JsSiFOAGf9— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 16, 2020
Perhaps spurred by his rotation-mate’s success, Sheffield’s second inning began with him striking out Donnie Walton, and then nailing Patrick Wisdom on some high heat. The switch over to drills is a little faster here, but again features a sparkling defensive play with Evan White making this smooth-as-silk pickup and throw:
After Dunn gets another quick two outs, including victimizing Cal Raleigh on a nasty slider, he gives up his first hard contact of the day when Tom Murphy smacks a double to the left-center gap. However, Kyle Lewis makes a great play on the ball and a strong throw to hose Murphy at second:
If Kyle Lewis and Jake Fraley are battling for center field reps while Mallex is out, right now the advantage is definitely with Lewis on both sides of the ball.
Taylor Guilbeau is up next and strikes out the first two batters he sees, but the camera is stuck on the press box angle for it so we’re not exactly sure who it was and checking the lineup card doesn’t help much as there was a wandering Tom Murphy in the lineup today batting wherever he was needed. Floating Tom Murphys! Free-range Murphs! The camera switches back down to the field just in time to see the recognizable form of Kyle Seager, who flies out to shallow left field, where Jose Marmolejos is testing out the waters today.
Marmolejos, following the old baseball-ism of “end the inning on a defensive play, first up next inning” leads off against new pitcher Brandon Brennan with a double into the right field corner, but Brennan almost immediately picks him off of second. Meanwhile, Donnie Walton, who has been angling hard for the title of peskiest hitter on the team, works a walk. Brennan again gets himself out of trouble by getting Patrick Wisdom to almost ground into a double play, and then rudely introduces himself to 2020 draftee Kaden Polcovich:
Sam Delaplane is the next man up, and happily, he once again looks like his old soul-reaping self, starting off by ticking off J.P. Crawford with this perfectly-located pitch:
After getting Lopes to ground out, Delaplane then strikes out Sam Haggerty. He would return in the top of the next inning to continue wreaking his particular brand of sneaky havoc, getting Modesto/Arkansas teammates Cal Raleigh and Evan White to ground out/fly out easily, and also confounding Shed Long into this swing:
I delight to inform you Sam "Devil Magic" Delaplane is at it again pic.twitter.com/c06eYClQmi— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 16, 2020
In between Delaplane innings we saw an inning of Art Warren, who worked efficiently:
Nice crisp outing from Art Warren with two strikeouts, one looking and one...swinging-ish pic.twitter.com/d9H6e8Ln9Y— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 16, 2020
Also between innings,...whatever this was.
While Carl Edwards Jr. continued to look better than he did earlier this spring, he gave up a few bits of solid contact, with mixed results from his defense. In the plus column, neophyte right fielder Tim Lopes chased down a deep fly ball from Jose Marmolejos in the tricky right field corner. It’s great to see him continue to build comfort in the other corner, having spent nearly all his initial outfield time in left field to solid initial results, and every extra bit of versatility improves the odds that he sticks on the big league roster. The defensive pendulum careened the other way moments later, however, as Donnie Walton sprayed a line drive to left field, testing Jack “Mothman” Mosimann to cut it off. The M’s may set up a Zoom call with Mike Cameron to talk to Mosimann about his routes after today, as the bouncing ball ticked off the edge of his glove, turning a 50/50 single/double into surefire extra bases. Still, Mosimann corralled the ball quickly, and on the day turned in far from the worst defensive display Seattle’s left field has seen in the past several years.
Building on a great day/camp/szn, Tim Lopes laced a single on a 1-2 slider from new pitcher Taylor Williams off the outside part of the plate to continue asserting his belonging in the big league ranks. The absence of Dee Gordon in recent days has given Lopes an even better shot at making the club out of the gate, and the late starts and minimal action for Dylan Moore and Mallex Smith create an opportunity for Lopes to secure a potential starting spot in the outfield, with only Kyle Lewis, Jake Fraley, and Braden Bishop playing consistently thus far.
With MLB’s rules to attempt to curb position player pitching looming, Seattle decided to jump ahead of the curve once more, allowing Mosimann, the traveling secretary pressed into service, a single plate appearance at the game’s close. A clean-shaven Taylor Williams, mis-ID’d as friend of the Lookout Landing podcast Joey Gerber, took no mercy. A 92 mph fastball down the middle was the closest thing to an olive branch, before a back foot slider that Mosimann foul tipped, and this 94 mph clincher of The Mothman.
Mariners let traveling secretary Jack Mosimann get an AB after filling in in LF today. No mercy from Taylor Williams, firing 94 mph heat. pic.twitter.com/wCCWkRfg9B— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) July 16, 2020
The game wrapped one batter later with Williams setting down Sam Haggerty as well. The Pilots eke out a 1-0 victory in a pitching-led performance that only got a partial assist from some prematurely ended innings.
Tomorrow is a scheduled off day, but excitingly, the club will broadcast Saturday’s intrasquad after holding last weekend’s matchups without coverage. Even better, Saturday’s game will be the first full nine-inning game, so we should get a more full experience, with Opening Day a week from this Friday.