After getting their doors blown off yesterday the Mariners returned to a familiar place today, tying the Dodgers 4-4 in a seven-inning contest at Camelback Ranch. It was drizzling through most of the game and downright pouring by the seventh, so if anything, this game went an inning too long.
Biggest off-season acquisition and president of the rival school’s debate team in an 80s teen movie Trevor Bauer started for the Dodgers, and yes he was doing his “pitching with one eye closed” schtick, and deliciously, he kind of sucked for it. He started the game walking J.P. Crawford, who then stole second while Dylan Moore was busy striking out, and then he hit Ty France with a slider before issuing back-to-back walks to Kyle Lewis and then Luis Torrens, to force in a run, and this was the only time I’ve been on the side of the fans chanting against the rollover innings because I wanted to see Bauer wear this one. Alas.
Bauer got lucky on his second inning of work, giving up a bunt single to Taylor Trammell who was then caught stealing, and then luckier when Jake Fraley crushed a fastball that bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double with Marmolejos aboard at first, meaning Marmo couldn’t score (that was Fraley’s first hit this spring, breaking an 0-for-too many streak). Bauer then walked J.P. Crawford, but Dylan Moore grounded out to quell the threat. A one-two-three inning in the third saved Bauer’s pitch count, although he also faced Taylor Trammell in the fourth, striking him out.
Chris Flexen was the more impressive starting pitcher in this contest, which is kind of like when you bring boxed brownies to the bake-off and they take first prize. He started out a little shaky, hitting Mookie Betts and then hanging a breaking ball to Corey Seager on the first pitch that Seager crushed onto the berm. Flex rebounded, however, to get the next three outs on a foulout, swinging strike three, and groundout.
Flex’s second inning was better, going 1-2-3 with another swinging strikeout, a particularly ugly hack from Matt Davidson. After throwing a ton of first pitch strikes, Flexen had to throw a few more pitches in his third inning of work, walking Mookie Betts and Seager, but he came back to get the final two outs he needed to end the inning, including his third strikeout of the night, this time nailing Justin Turner swinging.
The Mariners got all but one of their runs of this game off one swing. Nick Robertson, replacing Bauer, had issued back-to-back walks to Evan White and Marmolejos when Fraley came up, looking for his second hit of this game (and his second hit of the spring). He found it, in a big way.
Jake Fraley launches a 3-Run Home Run to give the Mariners a 4-2 lead over the Dodgers. pic.twitter.com/n73PEitBAD— Skylar Lewis (@RealSkylarLewis) March 12, 2021
Ball go cronch. After this, JP walked and Ty France had a single, but boom, rollover inning. So that’s what it feels like to have innings rolled over when it’s your guys doing all the hitting. Huh.
Okay now brace yourselves because the next thing I have to tell you isn’t good. Roenis Elías was the next pitcher out of the gate for the Mariners and after getting a sharp lineout off the bat of Gavin Lux right to Evan White, Roenis was three pitches into his next batter when suddenly Luis Torrens was standing next to him on the mound and both looked concerned, and then Scott Servais and the trainer came out and they looked concerned, and then very quickly Elías was walking away with the trainer and I looked concerned. Look, universe, I don’t ask you for a lot, but I need Roenis to be okay, okay?
Aaron Fletcher took over for Elías and despite inheriting a 2-1 count was able to get Pollock to flyout and then got a called strike three on Matt Beaty:
Nice recovery for Aaron Fletcher after Roenis had to leave due to injury. Got a flyout off the end of the bat from Pollock and freezes Matt Beaty with this pitch showing why lefty Kelenic got so frustrated facing Fletcher at the alternate site: pic.twitter.com/w5coi7kDaU— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) March 12, 2021
Rafael Montero was the next pitcher out of the pen for the Mariners and he had some bad batted ball luck: a single that hugged the RF line, a parachute shot into left, and then a broken bat single from Luke Raley where the bat came close enough to Ty France that he elected to just watch the ball roll past him. It was called an error and probably rightfully so but I’m not judging Ty France for trying to save his bacon, although it did allow a run to score. Then Kody Hoese, who has a stupidly-spelled name on all counts, chopped a stupid little infield hit scoring another runner, despite a heroic attempt by one Dylan Moore, and it was the Mariners’ turn for a rollover inning.
Joey Gerber turned in the most entertaining inning by a Mariners pitcher, starting out by winning the battle of Midwest Boys by striking out Gavin Lux looking. He also struck out Andy Burns (?) swinging. Gerber fell behind former Oakland Athletic Sheldon Neuse 3-1 before Neuse dumped a base hit into right field, but coaxed a flyout off the bat of Rangel Ravelo to end the inning. The entertaining part of the inning mostly came from the Dodgers’ booth marveling over the collection of limbs and elbows that is Joey Gerber. They showed not one but two slo-mo segments of Gerber in action, which really made me appreciate our special little weirdo.
The Dodgers announcers cannot get over Gerber's motion. They have run two slo-mos of his motion on the broadcast. They want to put him under glass and study him. They aren't wrong. This is beautiful. pic.twitter.com/c4ZppbsTsk— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) March 12, 2021
Meanwhile, Tony Gonsolin held the Mariners offense down for three innings, allowing no hits, walking no one, and striking out five (one strikeout, Trammell looking, was prettyyyyy questionable. The zone was pretty tight most of the night so I don’t think it was a bad take by TT.).
Underneath the pouring rain, the Mariners sent Brandon Brennan to get the final three outs of the game. BB started by retiring [checks notes] James Outman???? They are getting so lazy with these fake player names. Luke Raley then flew out on a ball tracked down beautifully by Braden Bishop. Brennan’s command deserted him briefly, as he issued a four-pitch walk to Omar Estévez and then another walk to my nemesis Kody Hoese, but then Devin Mann (again, so LAZY with the names) struck out to end the game, and also the misery for the players standing out in the desert rain. It does smell great, though. Oh chaparral, I miss you.
The Mariners will be back in action tomorrow, and you can even watch it on that newfangled TV box if you have one, as ROOT sports will be carrying the game—an evening game, at that, as the Mariners face the Reds in Peoria at 5:40. Until then.