Being a fan of a bad baseball team does weird things to your brain. Reader, I confess: I was rooting for the tie. The Mariners kindly obliged, ending the game against the A’s in a 1-1 tie for the fourth straight game this spring, which is surely some kind of record. (Edited to add: it is indeed a Mariners club record.)
The only kind of bummer about that is it probably shouldn’t have been a tie, since the Mariners ran out something close to their A squad for the first four innings and the A’s...did not do that. Not a Matt nor Mark to be found, although there was a Chad. With the A’s, there’s always a Chad.
To be fair, the Mariners pitchers kept the A’s off the board for the majority of the game. Justin Dunn got the start and had one good inning and one less-good inning. The less-good inning was the first, when he issued a leadoff walk to
teeny Tony Kemp, followed by a first-pitch swinging line drive base hit to Vimael Machin. Dunn bounced back to strike out Chad Pinder looking and Seth Brown on a check swing, but then lost Cody Thomas on a walk and with 26 pitches in the inning and the bases full, Servais called for a rollover inning, to lusty boos from the fans in attendance.
Here’s a 96 mph strikeout looking from Justin Dunn: pic.twitter.com/96ugoPNh6D— Daniel Kramer (@DKramer_) March 6, 2021
And here he works the count full and misses for ball four to load the bases... Mariners then rolled the inning. pic.twitter.com/Hj71T7LcBk— Daniel Kramer (@DKramer_) March 6, 2021
Happily, Dunn was much sharper in his second inning of work, with a 1-2-3 inning with a little help from Taylor Trammell, who continues to impress:
Dunn was also hitting around 95 on the fastball according to the broadcast, so that’s also a good sign.
A less-good sign for Dunn: Nick Margevicius, with whom Dunn is competing for the sixth starter spot, was even sharper, going 1-2-3 in his first inning of work and only surrendering a walk in his second. He also struck out Chad Pinder looking, because apparently that’s what Chad Pinder enjoys doing against Mariner pitching. Marge isn’t the strikeout threat Dunn is, but he is the king of soft contact; he didn’t allow a ball to leave the infield. This will be an interesting storyline to continue watching over the spring (I use the term “watching” loosely, of course, as we will actually be able to watch very few of these games).
The rest of the Mariners pitching staff comported itself well. Gerson Bautista worked a 1-2-3 inning and touched 96; he was impressing last spring before he went down with injury, and I really hope he can stay healthy this season because he could be a real threat in the back end of the Mariners bullpen. Taylor Guerrieri also set the side down in order despite allowing something called a Frank Schwindel to reach a full count against him, but 3B Jantzen Witte (okay, maybe I can’t make fun of the A’s player names after all) apparently made a nice defensive play on a groundout. Tay Gueri ended his inning by striking out well-regarded A’s prospect and power threat Jake Diechmann looking. So much looking today!
The A’s lone run came off NRI Jaime Schultz, who allowed a leadoff solo home run to Tony Kemp. However, Schultz bounced back to get the next three outs—a flyout, a groundout, and another flyout—which is a marked improvement on his last outing, when he faced Cleveland and suffered the indignity of a rollover inning after struggling with command and giving up a two-RBI double. Unfortunately, the news is not all good for Schultz:
Shultz is down in front of the pitching mound. Not sure what happened, fell to his knees after final pitch of the inning. Now heading straight back to facility with the trainer. Looks like he is holding lower back, hip.— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) March 6, 2021
For the A’s, top pitching prospect Daulton Jefferies kept the Mariners down over the first two innings, striking out Kyle Seager, Evan White, and Tom Murphy while touching 95 himself. The only blemish on his day was a walk to Mitch Haniger, and a ringing double given up to power threat Dylan Moore. Coming into today Moore had just one single and three strikeouts, so it was good to see his bat announce its presence. I look forward to another season of increasingly outrageous metaphors by which to explain Moore’s prodigious power.
The rest of the A’s pitchers were similarly effective. Remin Guduan walked J.P. Crawford but he was later caught stealing; J.B. Wendelken, who is apparently a pitcher and not a nineteenth-century carnival impresario, worked a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout of Evan White; Wandisson Charles (I swear I am not making these names up) also set the side down in order. Montana DuRapau (no really, I swear) allowed a hit to Jordan Cowan, the long-tenured Mariners farmhand who is quietly putting together a solid spring, but came back to strike out Dillon Thomas to end the game.
Oh! You wanted to know how the Mariners scored their run. I know, I was saving it for the end so we could end on a high note. Today started with a decidedly sour taste in my mouth with the news that Jarred Kelenic will be out for anywhere from one week (says Jarred) to three to six weeks (says science). Kelenic has been the big spring training story and fun to watch on the field. However, new acquisition Taylor Trammell has been equally fun to watch as he sets out to impress his new club. You saw the great snag earlier, but he also was responsible for the Mariners’ lone run today when he tattooed a pitch off Miguel Romero that just missed being a home run. The ball was bobbled by Deichmann in the outfield so Trammell motored on to third, showcasing his aggressive baserunning skills, and then Luis Torrens hit a sac fly to bring TT home. I have been vamping throughout this recap, hoping to find footage of it, but I can’t, so here’s a triple TayTram hit in Double-A last year to help your imagination along: