It’s not exactly as though the Seattle Mariners shouldn’t have this sort of performance to look forward to in the 2023 regular season when they face the Oakland Athletics, it’s just that the accuracy of the state of affairs in the two franchises’ trajectories is not always so accurately reflected on the scoreboard of any game, even an exhibition. Seattle’s 15-3 dismantling of the A’s was only partially a display of Mariners’ competence, it was also a showcase for everything the A’s sadly have in store for the coming season in all likelihood.
That starts with the pitching, where Oakland yielded 13 hits, 7 walks, a pair of hit by pitches, and a dropped third strike to put a whopping 20 Mariners on base. While towering A’s starter Mason Miller flashed impressive sliders at times in his two innings of work, he was outdone by the top of Seattle’s order and his own teammate, as a catchable slider was missed by the young backstop Tyler Soderstrom and instead allowed Mason McCoy to reach. Ty France gave a quintessential performance in lofting a medium strength chopping grounder up the middle and off second base itself to reach as well, bringing up Cal Raleigh to turn the early 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead that was never relinquished nor threatened.
Fastball hitter, Cal Boy doth be. Following Miller was a cavalcade of calumny, as Parker Dunshee and Joelvis Del Rosario, who’ve topped out at Triple-A and Low-A respectively, were unsurprisingly rattled around by the M’s experienced and patient group at the plate. Dunshee didn’t yield a hit but let in three runs on two walks, a hit by pitch, a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly, and an error in left field. Del Rosario actually worked a scoreless frame in the 4th before loading the bases against France and Raleigh singles and a Cooper Hummel walk before another Tommy La Stella sac fly. Another hit would not be allowed that inning, yet two more runs would score. It is not to say the Mariners hitters did nothing commendable, but that they should beat Oakland big leaguers, and they definitely should-and-did beat the brakes off of Oakland fringe minor leaguers.
Things didn’t look great out the gate, of course, as an aggressive Oakland array of youngsters jumped on Luis Castillo in the first, with a double from future pest Soderstrom to drive in another top offensive farmhand in Zack Gelof, followed by a Jonah Bride single to center, things seemed upsettingly amiss for the M’s Opening Day starter. And yet, he settled in as expected, cruising without blemish for the rest of his outing, scattering three more hits and racking up six punchouts to hold the score there in his five frames. The four relievers who worked all seem likely for the big league roster, with Penn Murfee, Diego Castillo, and Matt Festa working three scoreless and a solo shot off Trevor Gott placing the final, unimpactful smudge on a gleaming 15-3 dismantling.
For those curious, this high-scoring slopfest, featuring 11 pitchers and a multitude of free passes, nonetheless came in at 2 hours and 44 minutes, about 22 minutes shorter than the average Mariners’ regular season game on average last year.