I’ll be real with you all - I spent a good chunk of the first couple of innings barely paying attention to this game, with Mexico’s thrilling 5-4 win over Puerto Rico in the WBC quarterfinals holding most of my attention. The dog days of spring training are in full swing, my friends.
It seemed like that was just what the Mariners’ offense needed to get things going, though! Sam Haggerty led off the game with a rocket of a double off of Blake Snell, and after a Ty France groundout and an AJ Pollock walk, Cal Raleigh continued a strong spring with a two-run double into the left field corner - a welcome sight from the right side. Tom Murphy went down on strikes for the second out, Cooper Hummel worked a walk, and Jake Scheiner added another pair of runs on a pop up that Padres top shortstop prospect Jackson Merrill let clank off his glove, knocking Snell out of the inning. Mason McCoy struck out to end the frame, and Snell settled down after coming back in for the second inning (spring training rules - they’re weird!), not allowing a baserunner in the second or third frames.
Chris Flexen, on the other hand, was perfectly economical, a solo shot from Fernando Tatís, Jr. in the first inning notwithstanding. By the time the fourth inning rolled around, though, the M’s were ready to pounce once again. Hummel led off the frame with a solid base hit the other way, and after another McCoy strikeout and a Scheiner walk, Leo Rivas added on two more runs with a ringing double for his first extra-base hit of the spring. Rivas will probably be Tacoma’s starting second baseman, and although he likely won’t see any time in Seattle barring multiple injuries, at 25 and bringing a solid infield glove, he’s a good guy to have in the org. The Swaggy Ham brought him home with his second double of the evening, and Ty France got every bit of the first pitch he saw from Snell to bring the score to 9-1.
After a scoreless fourth from Flex, Scheiner cashed in the Mariners’ tenth and final run of the game with a bomb to left, and it was around here where the game slowed to a crawl. Three hours of the doldrums of spring training - not the most riveting product!
There were a couple other notable happenings, though, presented below in cLLassic bullet points:
- Flexen started the bottom of the fifth, getting the first two outs quickly before being pulled after a single to Merrill. Travis Kuhn was on to finish the frame, but things could not have gone worse for the poor righty: walk, hit-by-pitch, bases loaded walk, two-run single, walk, yanked after three runs came in. Lefty Jorge Benitez was summoned to stop the bleeding, and did so admirably, inducing a flyout off the bat of David Dahl.
- Lazaro Montes made an appearance! Brought up from minor league camp for the day, he worked a walk off of Double-A pitcher Lake Bachar in the fifth - a very welcome sight from a fella who put up a K-rate of 33% in the DSL last year. He didn’t see any action in the field, with Kean Wong replacing him the next inning, but we could see him a couple more times before the M’s break camp.
- Harry Ford also took over for Cal, walking in his one plate appearance. If you’re keeping track, that’s three walks to no strikeouts for him in Cactus League play, and coming off a scintillating performance for Great Britain in the WBC, his stock seems to be rising on a daily basis.
- Matt Brash, Tayler Saucedo, and Trevor Gott all worked scoreless frames, with Gott striking out the side in order in the eighth. Preston Tucker, Rangel Ravelo, and Pedro Severino aren’t exactly Murderer’s Row, but Gott continued his solid spring, and inched closer to securing a spot in the Opening Day bullpen.
- Riley O’Brien came on for the ninth, and allowed a garbage time run on a walk, stolen base, and base hit, but struck out a pair of hitters, including freezing Padres prospect Tirso Ornelas - an 80-grade baseball name if I ever saw one - on a 2-2 breaking pitch to seal the win. Hooray!
It’s another night game on the docket for tomorrow, with Luis Castillo taking on Zach Plesac and the Cleveland Guardians. Alas, it does not look like there will be a TV broadcast, but hey, maybe Cleveland will be kind enough to provide a live feed like the Padres did tonight. See you then.