The good news about this game is the Mariners starters did what they were supposed to do against Cleveland’s split squad B-team, racking up an 8-1 lead. The bad news is things fell apart in the sixth inning, but [shrugs in spring training]. The good part again is the Mariners won this game eventually! The other bad part of today’s game is it was a radio-only broadcast (which will be airing on tape delay on 710 later), so we didn’t get the full experience of Luis Castillo and Bryce Miller’s spring debuts.
Luis Castillo pitched two solid innings; he did give up a couple of walks, including walking the first batter he saw, and suffered some poor luck on an especially windy day in Peoria, as a routine flyout in the first became a wind-aided double (Dave Sims called it a “retro rocket” which I lobby to become a more common broadcast cliché) which, one productive out later, became a run for Cleveland. In the second, he also gave up a “double” to Meibrys Viloria, on a ball the wind took away from J.P. Crawford. Credit to Cleveland’s minor-leaguers and fringe NRIs tasked with facing Castillo this game; even as he was only throwing 93-94 as he’s still ramping up, that can’t be an easy assignment, and they Did Their Best (insert “you tried” gif). Castillo struck out two batters and didn’t give up much if any hard contact, despite the two hits on his line.
Luis Castillo with two strikeouts in the first inning. Here's the first one. pic.twitter.com/5MZCwwD4Id— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) February 28, 2023
The Mariners offense didn’t need any wind-aiding to score runs. They made Cleveland starter Logan Allen work from the first pitch of the game, with Kolten Wong working a leadoff walk. Ty France collected his second hit of the spring, and Eugenio got hit by a pitch in, as Sims said, “his left but-tock” to load up the bases for Cal Raleigh, who got a rousing ovation at the Peoria Sports Complex for his first spring at-bat. Unfortunately, he struck out, but J.P. Crawford worked a long at-bat, as he is wont to do, that resulted in a two-run single and a 2-1 lead for Seattle. Cade Marlowe then tripled to drive in two more and make it 4-1. Look at Cade run!
Here's Cade Marlowe's two-run triple. Insert reference to Leo's Island BBQ now. pic.twitter.com/ElOJCrsOhD— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) February 28, 2023
That ended Allen’s day, but the Mariners offense wasn’t any kinder to replacement Aaron Pinto in the third inning. Leonys Martín led off with a walk and Wong hit a line-drive single, bringing up Teoscar Hernández, who absolutely destroyed a baseball, no wind needed. Ty France decided that looked like fun and backed up Teoscar’s shot with his own shot to push the lead out to 8-1.
2️⃣ jacks from Teo and Ty! pic.twitter.com/G1LfmEcbS2— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) February 28, 2023
Today was also the spring debut of Bryce Miller, another much buzzed-about pitcher in the Mariners system. Miller also opened his day by walking Andrés Giménez, and gave up a single to Zack Collins, but also collected two strikeouts in his first inning of work, and had a 1-2-3 inning in his second inning (with an assist from Kolten Wong, who leaped to snare a hot shot off the bat of Viloria). Miller sat 97 on his heater but struggled at times to command it; the whiff-getters were primarily his off-speed pitches. Nonetheless, it was a tantalizing taste of a player who could help the Mariners as soon as this year, and while I hesitate to call anything in spring training “appointment viewing,” I would definitely try to seek out his next outing if you didn’t have the pleasure of watching Miller pitch in Everett last season.
Here's a Bryce Miller's first strikeout ... pic.twitter.com/ivDQ5EYVOw— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) February 28, 2023
Diego Castillo made his spring debut, and was greeted by back-to-back doubles by Connor Kokx (!) and Giménez, giving Cleveland their second run of the day. Diego settled down after that, striking out Angel Martinez and getting two lineouts to end the inning.
Things fell apart for the Mariners in the sixth inning. Trevor Gott struck out the first batter he saw but then got roughed up by Cleveland’s B-squad, struggling with his command. He walked Viloria on four pitches and gave up a single to Juan Brito; the ball was mishandled on the relay allowing Viloria to score, making the score 8-3. Another single from Kokx, which still does not register in my brain as a human name, suddenly halved the lead to 8-4 as Gott continued to labor. After he walked Jose Tena, Scott Servais had seen enough and went to get Gott, which I promise I wasn’t even trying to make a pun.
Collin Kober came in to try to get the final out, but instead walked the bases full, then gave up a wind-blown double that new center fielder Jonatan Clase whiffed on, allowing the bases to clear and cutting the lead to 8-7. Another single knotted things up at 8-8. Spring training leads are like that, they can blow over as quickly as a spring rainstorm, but it’s a little deflating after the big time fun of the first three innings.
Thankfully, power-hitting backstop Jake Anchía, who went to the same D-2 college as J.D. Martinez, hit a solo homer to unknot the game in the eighth. There’s no video of Anchía’s homer I could find, so instead here’s my favorite Jake Anchía moment from his time in the minors:
Riley O’Brien came on close out the game and, despite allowing a pair of runners on infield hits, struck out the side to secure the save. Good vibes preserved!
Compass points of interest:
- Penn Murfee pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts (although he also hit a batter and had to navigate around a runner on third) in the seventh. Blake Weiman also pitched a scoreless eighth despite allowing a leadoff single, with a strikeout and a double play.
- Jacob Nottingham got hit in the hand by a pitch, because baseball delights in being cruel to Jacob Nottingham. He remained in the game and we are beaming him good thoughts.
- Shannon Drayer was on the broadcast saying Andrés Muñoz is throwing a two-seamer now and it’s the same velocity as the four-seamer (!!!!!). Tom Murphy: “good luck.”
- Mason McCoy continued his strong spring with a single.
Tomorrow’s game info:
Time: 12:05 PT
Opponent: Chicago Cubs
Starter: Robbie Ray
Broadcast: 710 Seattle Sports (delayed), MLB TV (CHC feed), MLB At-Bat