MLB Network opted in to airing this penultimate spring contest between the Mariners and Padres because, duh, both these teams might be good this year. For their foresight, the big-brain baseball execs were rewarded with a 5-5 tie, although not without offensive highlights from each team’s starting stars.
In his final spring tuneup, Logan Gilbert was sharp for the Mariners, giving up two runs over four innings of work on one lousy mistake pitch to Trent Grisham, who was really On One today, as we will cover later. Gilbert struck out three and mostly looked in command of his arsenal, other than that one oopsy-doodle pitch to Grisham—he gave up just two hits, and one of them was a two-run home run. My dad always complains about Final Jeapordy(!), saying he doesn’t think it’s fair one question should have so much influence over the entire game, and we always tell him that’s literally how the game works, there’s like a theme song and everything, but I have to say, home runs can sometimes be the Final Jeopardy questions of pitching duels, and I can see where he’s coming from.
Also...forkball? I think this is the splitter, but it’s cool to see Gilbert still using this new pitch this late in spring.
The Mariners actually led this game for the first couple of innings, after the Julio-Teoscar connection brought home one of what I hope will be many RBI buddy-comedies this season.
Teo gets us started in the first pic.twitter.com/Tfd80LX2lc— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) March 26, 2023
Even after the Grisham home run, the Mariners battled back, again with Teoscar at the heart of the run-scoring activity, with a pair of sacrifice flies and an Eugenio Suárez single off Padres starter Michael Wacha in the fourth to give the Mariners a 4-2 lead. Wacha gave up eight hits, four runs, walked two and struck out just one batter, so I feel pretty confident in saying even though the game ended in a tie, the Mariners had the better starting pitcher on the mound today.
The game evened right up again though when Trent Grisham hit a two-run homer off Andrés Muñoz in the fifth. Trent Grisham, what did the Mariners ever do to you? Muñoz was maybe not as sharp as he has been at times, but it wasn’t even a bad pitch Grisham homered on, exactly; he was just On One today. Maybe he took the lack of Juan Soto in the Padres’ lineup as a vacuum to be filled. In the sixth, it was somehow Grisham’s turn to bat again, and with two outs and facing the Mariners’ other premier set-up man in Matt Brash, he lined an RBI single into right field. Brash was not as sharp as Muñoz had been, and was lucky to get bailed out by two plays from Seattle’s minor-league callups playing behind him in that inning—conveniently, the two players I featured in profiles this spring, with Axel Sánchez making a brilliant diving stab at short and Alberto Rodríguez cutting down a runner trying to steal to keep what would have been the winning run off the board.
Alberto Rodríguez cutting down what would have been the winning run at home. Has been coming up big this spring in clutch moments. pic.twitter.com/ZlLvlNvVp4— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) March 26, 2023
The Mariners were able to even it up again in the seventh thanks to some savvy base-running from the surprisingly speedy Cooper Hummel, now three-for-three in stolen base attempts this spring, and another contribution from a Mariners prospect: this time, it was power-hitting international signee Gabriel “El Dron” Gonzalez, who hit a ball that mayyyyybeee should have been caught but turned into a run-scoring, game-tying double.
Neither team was able to pull ahead in the latter innings, and if there’s disinclination to play past ties in spring training there’s absolute disgust at the idea of doing so with the regular season shimmering on the horizon, so the game ended in a 5-5 tie. One more spring training game and then we really start counting down the days!