Rightfully this recap should belong to James Paxton as the primary character. Paxton was dazzling today in his final spring training warmup, giving up just two hits over four innings with nine strikeouts. Paxton was dealing with a postage stamp-sized zone from home plate umpire Alex Tosi (much like the goal of a ship captain is to never have the name of your ship green linked on Wikipedia, the goal of an umpire is to not have your name hotlinked in a recap), but that didn’t stop the Big Maple from dealing, racking up nine strikeouts in four innings with two hits and no runs.
It did take Pax a little bit to settle in and work around that tiny zone, as he saw some traffic on the bases in the first inning with a walk and then hit Wilmer Flores with a backfoot slider, but Pax rebounded to clear the first. He started the second with a leadoff walk to LaMonte Wade (brother of Jamal, former Mariner farmhand) but again, was able to work back and strike out the side. If the zone wasn’t going to be there for him for called strikes, Pax was able to reach back and blow it by hitters. Darin had a Ruf time:
Marco Luciano was not lucky:
Putting the Gory in Longoria:
The only real damage against Pax was a leadoff double from Alex Dickerson who Pax promptly stranded at third. We’ve seen some Very Competent Mariner pitching over the past couple seasons, but we haven’t seen god-tier pitching like Paxton brings at his best, and it’s just so, so exciting to have that once again.
But really, today belonged to this fellow:
Today Taylor Trammell was informed that after years of grinding in the minor leagues, nearly enjoying the dubious distinction of being a two-time Futures Game MVP, being traded twice, he will make his major league debut on Thursday at T-Mobile Park. We are obviously thrilled for Taylor, a truly nice guy who visited with us on the podcast earlier this winter (and signed off by wishing yours truly a “very happy women and girls in sports day” and thanked me for being here, cementing him as my Forever Favorite); he gave a very touching interview on the broadcast talking about what getting the call to the bigs means to him which is worth watching if you’re able.
But as he’s done all spring, today Trammell did his loudest talking on the field. He got the Mariners on the board in the second with this bases-loaded single off a struggling Scott Kazmir:
(The bases were loaded thanks to a Torrens single, an Evan White single, and a Jake Fraley walk, all of which were good things. Fraley would later score on the rare spring-training-balk to make it 3-0 Mariners.)
But that was not enough for Taylor “can’t spell Seattle without TT” Trammell, who took advantage of a Giants miscue (a dropped foul popup) to get this pitch that he absolutely Taylor Trammell Tattooed:
Make that a 4-RBI night for Trammell once this moonshot lands pic.twitter.com/vNihNUQpf1— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 28, 2021
The Trammell-powered offense would be all the Mariners needed, especially with the Seattle Mariners pitching staff recording 20 strikeouts. Half of that was Paxton, obvs, but Vinny Nittoli added one in his clean inning, Drew Steckenrider added two more as he continued to look solid as he returns from injury, as did J.T. Chargois in the ninth, and Paul Sewald eventually struck out the side, although he made it an adventure, going walk-strikeout-walk-strikeout-walk-strikeout. Please, Paul, I just ate. Keynan Middleton also struck out the side, sporting both some new Mariners-colored dreads and some extra filth on his fastball, which touched 96, as he overpowered the Giants hitters who trudged out to face him:
Technically there’s another spring training game on Monday (but it’s radio-only, so does it even count?), but let’s all pretend that tonight was it. It’s pretty easy to get excited about the notion of seeing James Paxton taking the mound every sixth day and mowing down batters like he has in his past two outings, a joyous Taylor Trammell cruising around the outfield, and Keynan Middleton and Co. throwing flames out of the bullpen. That’ll do, yes indeed. That’ll do just fine.