It’s something we’ve all experienced at our day jobs: you come in, knock out all your necessary work for the day within the first couple hours, and it stays slow the rest of the day, forcing you to twiddle your thumbs or play on your phone while still needing to look busy. Time grinds to a halt, and sure, you could get a head start on another project, but do you really want to? There are plenty of times where I sure don’t.
Today’s game against the Dodgers felt a lot like that. Despite initial audio issues that made the broadcast sound like a 2008 YouTube Poop, Levi Stoudt got the ball to kick things off, and quickly showed why he’s regarded as a promising pitching prospect. The Dodgers did push a run across in the first thanks to an ultra-aggressive approach at the plate and a Chris Taylor sac fly, but Stoudt kept them off the board after that. He also recorded a K to Austin Barnes, and flashed a pretty breaking pitch.
After the top of the frame, the Mariners went to bat with the intention of flying through their work for the day. Dylan Moore beat out a slow chopper to second, and Abraham Toro got clipped on the arm, giving Julio Rodríguez a couple of runners to work with and no one out. Despite my manifestations of a second three-run bomb, though, he got just under a 1-0 fastball on the outer half to harmlessly fly out to center. Oh, well, we can watch yesterday’s as much as we’d like.
Cal Raleigh worked a walk to load the bases, and Luis Torrens, starting at DH today, notched an infield hit just down the third-base line to tie the game. As mentioned in the game thread, though, this is where the fun quotient of the lineup dropped off significantly. None of the bottom four of the starting order today project to make the Opening Day roster barring multiple injuries, and I could already feel my interest starting to wane. Steven Souza, however, had other plans.
Oh, the glorious Spring Trainingness of it all! This took me back to Jack Reinheimer last spring hitting a game-tying homer in the ninth, young Alex Liddi hitting back-to-back grand slams in the 2011 Cactus League, and countless other moments that would be huge in games that counted. Here, though, it’s seldom more than golf claps, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The M’s nearly batted around, but didn’t push across any more runs, and Stoudt worked a very quick second inning with a lot of weak contact induced. Toro drew a one-out walk, moving to second on a Julio fielder’s choice, and Raleigh finished his last ticket at work before clocking out:
That looks like a much shorter swing than we saw in most of 2021 from Cal, and the reported exit velo on that was 112 MPH. That will certainly play. At this point, I had been satisfied with what I’d seen, and I’m sure if they could, the M’s would have punted the rest of the day and just vibed. Alas, there were six more innings to play! As most spring training games do, this one kinda blended together in the later innings, but there were plenty of good nuggets to take from today, presented here in cLLassic bullet points:
- Unfortunately, Stoudt gave up two more runs and was pulled with one out in the third with two runners on. In fairness to him, he was cursed by the BABIP gods. I mean, a ball that bounces off the base is pretty unfair. A nameplate-less lefty took the mound for Seattle, and it was several minutes before his identity was revealed as Peyton Alford, a 2021 UDFA from Virginia Tech. While he walked his first hitter, he escaped the jam without getting into any trouble, and struck out Jake Lamb on a pretty curveball. Alford didn’t put up great results in his first season of pro ball, but he did rack up a 30% composite K-rate, and might be a quick riser with some development.
- Yohan Ramírez got his first look of the spring, and he was electric, striking out two and looking as sharp as I’ve ever seen him. The fastball was blazing, the slider had tons of bite, and his misses were scant and slim. The truly wild Yohan of 2020 may be gone, but his one flaw last season was a pretty big homer problem. Ramírez feels likely - though is not guaranteed - to make the Opening Day roster, but if he looks like this more often than not, the American League is going to have a pretty bad time when he’s throwing.
- Non-roster invitee Danny Young was the next man on the mound for the fifth, and if there’s one way to instantly capture my heart, it’s to be a lefty sidearmer with a good slider. Young, who reportedly learned to throw sidearm from watching YouTube, also struck out a pair, and this sort of funk could be a great weapon in a bullpen scant on left-handed options.
homina homina homina AWOOOOOOOOOOGA pic.twitter.com/gAgEy9mSS1— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) March 19, 2022
- The middle innings stayed pretty quiet, with the substitutions rolling in and Kyle Bird and Patrick Weigel - who was Kate’s pick out of all the NRIs to break out - each throwing a scoreless inning. José Caballero, finally healthy after missing most of 2021, made a nice grab at second to end the top of the sixth, and walked, stole a base, and scored in the bottom of the seventh to bring the score to 7-3. He’s older at 25, but his high-contact approach could play well in Double-A Arkansas’ Dickey-Stephens Park, where he should open the year.
- It was here when the home stretch of the work day hit, where the minutes feel like hours. Braden Shipley came on for the eighth, and after two quick outs, surrendered back-to-back homers amid four straight hits to bring the Dodgers within a run. A flyout ended any further damage, and Jake Haberer was on to close. You may recall him as a flamethrower for the Modesto Nuts a few years back, but his control was shaky today, sandwiching two free passes around a flyout before getting lifted for Ben Onyshko, who was a teammate of Logan Gilbert’s at Stetson. Onyshko loaded the bases on a hit-by-pitch, but was able to secure the last two outs to give the Mariners their first win of the spring. At least that’s what MLB.com tells me; my stream cut out with two outs.
Phew! That was a long day at the office. But hey, if you’re read to this point, you’ve successfully run out the clock for another day. Chris Flexen, along with several familiar names like Anthony Misiewicz and Erik Swanson, will be getting the ball tomorrow against the Angels. Hopefully there is less incentive to simply run the clock out then.