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Mariners left afternoon get away from them, lose 10-1

But Evan White hit a homer, so the day wasn’t a complete wash

Seattle Mariners Photo Day
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Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Do you ever sit down to do something around lunchtime, then look up and suddenly it’s dark outside? Haha yeah no me neither. Seriously, though, I think the pandemic messed with my sense of how time passes, as so many days spent in the house gave me the idea that the hours are much longer than they actually are. Today the Mariners let the day get away from them, losing to the White Sox slowly and then all at once, as the offense sleepwalked through the afternoon and the pitching staff bled runs gradually, leading to an ugly final score of 10-1. Thank goodness it’s just spring training. And as ugly as the final score was, there are some bright spots.

Chris Flexen made his spring training debut today and looked solid, pounding the strike zone and showing no ill effects from the pitch clock. He started his day in the first inning striking out Luis Robert Jr. swinging as he chased a cutter and freezing Andrew Benintendi for strike three looking. In the second, after getting two quick outs, Andrew Vaughn muscled a single into the outfield for the White Sox’s first hit of the day followed by a line drive base hit from Grandal into right field. No worries, though, as Gavin Sheets grounded out easily to Evan White.

Speaking of Evan White, he was responsible for the Mariners’ lone run of the day, lighting up White Sox starter Jesse Scholtens with this absolute rocket:

Go back and watch that swing about ten more times. Seriously, highlights for today are going to be few and far between, so just do it.

2022 Tacoma Rainier Brennan Bernardino took over for Flexen in the third and was immediately greeted by old enemy Elvis Andrus hitting a triple, because of course he did. (Andrus also later stole a base hit from Cooper Hummel, and remains annoying). Worryingly, Julio banged into the wall pretty hard trying to make the catch and looked to be a little shaken up after, but he stayed in the game. Tim Anderson followed that with a double down the line to tie the game at 1-1. Bernardino, fighting his breaking ball command, would go on to load the bases but got out of the jam without further damage, getting Yoan Moncada to tap into a double play (1-2-3, with Brian O’Keefe and Evan White cleaning up the play on the back end after Bernardino threw kind of a shaky toss to O’Keefe at home).

The White Sox took the lead in the fourth in a very spring training inning. Bernie Martinez, most recently of the Everett AquaSox, struggled with his command and allowed the go-ahead run to score, eventually being lifted after walking the bases loaded. Logan Rinehart, who split last season between Modesto and Everett, was called in to clean up the mess and was immediately called for a balk, giving the Sox a 3-1 lead, before getting an easy ground ball out. (The official box score has Kelvin Nuñez listed in Martinez’s place, but unless Nuñez has aged two years and gained twenty pounds in between last August and now, I don’t think that was him.)

Taylor Williams made his spring debut and was greeted with a leadoff single from Eloy Jiménez, but rebounded to strike out Moncada on a good sinking fastball, and then got Andrew Vaughn to ground into a double play. Williams can struggle with his command, but when this slider works, it’s so nasty:

Nick Margevicius had a rough day, giving up an absolute tank shot to Jake Burger, who destroyed a two-run home run to the batter’s eye, making it 5-1. He also wasn’t helped out by some sloppy infield defense. The best part of this inning was getting to see Harry Ford behind the dish, gamely trying to sell Margevicius’s pitches as strikes.

Margevicius also struggled in his second inning of work, giving up another run on some hard contact hits to make it 6-1 before being lifted for Juan Then. Then got a flyout and froze Burger looking for a strikeout. His fastball hung out around 94 and the command was a little iffy, but the real star was his heavy breaking ball, which looks to be a real whiff-getter.

Things got away from the Mariners in the eighth inning. Isaiah Campbell struggled with his command, either not tempting the White Sox batters at all with his sinker or putting it on the plate for them to hit hard. He didn’t get helped out by his defense, which wasn’t stellar behind him, but the White Sox lead had ballooned to 10-1 by the time Scott Servais finally came out of the dugout to beckon Jake Haberer, who quickly tidied up the mess with a ground ball out.

As you might have guessed from the score, the Mariners offense was again quiet today, doing nothing against the White Sox relievers other than one hit from Julio. They wouldn’t collect another hit until the eighth, when Leonys Martín hit a double. Aside from the seven-run bonanza of the Royals game, the Mariners offense has scored a combined five runs over their other three games en route to a 1-3 record so far in Cactus League play. Where is this inflated offense I was promised?

Compass points of interest:

  • Before making an early departure from the game, Julio took 98 inside from Reynaldo López and muscled it into center field. He’s so gosh darn strong. The highlights from this game were thin on the ground, but that was definitely a bright spot.
  • According to reports, Julio simply had the wind knocked out of him when he banged into the wall. Phew.
  • The Mariners flashed some good outfield defense today. Jarred Kelenic made a great throw from right field that almost nailed Andrew Vaughn going first to third on a single, and Cade Marlowe, in for Julio, made an excellent running grab on a deep fly ball into the gap.
  • Kelenic also got robbed of a base hit, scalding a ball to the second baseman who put his glove up in self-defense and somehow was able to make a play on the ball.
  • Harry Ford got some more reps at catcher in this game and made this nifty defensive play. I truly do not understand the mania some outlets have for prematurely trying to move him off catcher.

(In fairness, he also made a less-than-perfect throw to second to try to nab a runner stealing but the runner got an excellent jump and would have been safe even if Ford’s throw had been perfectly on line, which it was not. The White Sox would also steal another base, again another one where Ford didn’t have much of a chance, even with a strong throw.)

  • More good defense from the Mariners: rescuing Nick Margevicius from even more damage, Leonys Martín made a nice cut on a ball hit deep into the right field corner and Kaden Polcovich at second fired an absolute seed to Jake Scheiner at third, cutting down Adam Hackenberg, who was trying to stretch an RBI double into a triple.
  • Cade Marlowe worked a walk in the ninth, which was the Mariners’ first and only walk of the day. Of course it’s spring training and most guys are in swing mode, but it’s still a little disarming to see a team that last year walked so much do the opposite of that.