Reader, I must confess: I listened to this game, as that was the only option available for experiencing it outside of Goodyear, Arizona, but the whole time I had my eyes glued to the TV for the Venezuela - USA World Baseball Classic matchup. The contrast between the two games couldn’t be more heightened: one, a high-stakes, win-or-go-home game with two teams battling it out in a dramatic series of lead changes, chest thumping exhilaration accompanying every play as thousands of fans in attendance hollered in one unified national voice; the other, a sleepy split-squad game broadcast over radio. It’s never been more clear which one was the “exhibition” game, despite what a certain full-of-himself washed-up sports commentator might say.
Okay, the Mariners game. It didn’t go great. At LL we have a saying, “write the recap the game deserves,” and this untelevised, unremarkable affair earns itself the Bullet Points treatment if ever a game did. Read ‘em and weep:
- Luis Castillo: started sharp, but gave up a few runs in the third on three straight hits: a single, a ground-rule double, and then the real damage, a two-run single by continual pest/former Oregon State Beaver Steven Kwan. A José Ramírez single would bring Kwan home and give the Guardians three runs of early offense. Castillo pitched into the fifth, and that’s probably the most important part of today, because, as noted above, This Game Does Not Count.
- The Mariners bullpen has been fairly lockdown this spring but stumbled a bit today, as Penn Murfee surrendered a solo homer and Gabe Speier also gave up a run on a pair of hits.
- On the bright side, prospect Logan Rinehart got into a game and worked a clean inning with a strikeout; Rinehart was drafted in 2019 but waylaid by TJ surgery. He’s got a very good breaking ball I wish I could show you that has late diving action, but you’ll just have to take my word for it that it’s a good whiff-getter. Hopefully he’ll pitch again in a televised game. Another under-the-radar prospect, Michael Flynn also pitched a clean inning in this game; he was signed in late May of last year after being released from the Pirates system, and re-upped with the team this winter. He was with Everett last season.
- The Mariners just couldn’t get anything going off Zach Plesac, who gave up just one run over 6.1 innings, striking out four and getting Mariners hitters to put the ball on the ground over and over and over again. They finally scraped a run off him in the seventh, but by that point the game was already essentially over.
- The Mariners did try to make it interesting in the ninth, when they scored all their runs in garbage time (largely thanks to a huge error by Cleveland’s right fielder that reduced broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith to a series of Nick Offerman-like giggles) but really, this game was not as close as the score makes it look.
- Julio Rodríguez and Teoscar Hernández collected a hit each in their first game back since returning from the WBC. Missed you guysssssss.
Tomorrow’s game is some split squad action. Most unfortunately, the game I’m most interested in seeing—Mariners prospect Bryce Miller vs. Jacob DeGrom and the Rangers—isn’t the one that’s televised, but Robbie Ray vs. Dylan Cease and the White Sox will be, on ROOT sports. Both games start at 1 PM PT, and we’ll do our best to have highlights from both games tomorrow for you.