Forgive the cliche, but: last night was a movie. A dream movie for Mariners fans, a horror movie for James Karinchak. Catch up on John’s recap here and my breakdown of Karinchak’s nightmare inning here.
Robbie Ray makes his home debut for the Mariners after an exciting spring where he struck out 13.8 batters per nine innings and showcased a new splitter, which Servais tantalizingly promised a glimpse of tonight. Cooper Hummel, the local kid, also makes his Mariners debut tonight. I expect members of the #CoopTroop to be here in full voice tonight.
Taking the place of the injured Triston McKenzie for the Guardians will be righty Hunter Gaddis. Gaddis made his debut last year for the Guardians and it didn’t go great, as he surrendered 15 runs on 15 hits with an especially bad case of homeritis in just 7.1 innings pitched. But Gaddis impressed the Guardians in camp with a strong spring training, showing significantly better command and an ability to miss bats and rack up some serious strikeouts—he had 11.8 per nine, not all that far behind Ray. Gaddis throws a full four-pitch mix, with a fastball (92-94 T95) that he likes to throw up in the zone; he pairs that with an 11-5 curveball with heavy sinking action, a slider with some glove-side tilt, and a changeup with sink and run that he likes to use as a strikeout pitch. He’ll also have the advantage of surprise, as the Mariners hitters won’t be well acquainted with him.
For a full overview of the Guardians squad, check out the series preview here.
- The Mariners announced they have acquired INF Nick Solak from the Reds in exchange for cash considerations. Solak, 28, was originally drafted by the Yankees, traded to Tampa Bay in a multi-team trade, and then was a popular armchair GM trade target for the Mariners in 2019, but the Mariners balked as they didn’t want to send Cal Raleigh in a deal. Good non-trade, methinks. Solak went to Texas instead in exchange for high-leverage reliever Pete Fairbanks (lol), and then was traded to Cincinnati this off-season for cash. He’ll be optioned to Triple-A Tacoma as infield depth.
Notes from Scott Servais’s pre-game media availability:
- What’s encouraged Servais about Ray’s spring: better velocity, more consistent breaking pitches, and the new splitter, which Servais calls “under construction” but promises will make a debut tonight.
- Servais expects to see teams continue to be aggressive on the basepaths under the new rules, but says the Mariners will be right in that mix, both on the offensive side and the defensive side, guaranteeing that you’ll see a Mariners pitcher throw over three times. “If you don’t throw a third time and all of a sudden the guy’s just taking off on you, he’s going to steal second anyway. So so what if we don’t get him out, he’s going that way anyway.” He promises Jarred, Julio, and J.P. will be running, but says he’s already fielding requests from players like Ty France, who’s clearly focused on that speed rating in MLB The Show (Scott’s response: if you know you got it, go for it).
- As for using his bench, Hummel is in the game tonight; Murphy will probably play tomorrow; A.J. Pollock will also get a start over the weekend sometime; and Haggerty will end up in the game “at some point.” Servais also said the righty bench will get a lot of use against the Angels and their lefty-dominant rotation.
- As for bullpen usage, Servais said Brash will likely remain in the “pivot” role, as you want to get your most impactful guys in the highest-leverage spots, but also reiterated that the bullpen in Seattle is fluid, without defined roles, noting that “you want to create opportunities for other guys to grow and move up the leverage scale,” using Penn Murfee as an example, and also pointing out that spreading the workload around helps the higher leverage bullpen arms stay healthy over the course of a long season.
- Servais gave one more shoutout to the crowd last night, saying they impacted the game and likening it to false starts in football. “I would suspect those things will happen to us on the road once in a while too, but for our fans to recognize that last night, I thought that was fantastic.”
Tonight’s game information:
Tonight’s game starts at 7:10 PT. It will be televised on ROOT Sports with Mike Blowers and Dave Sims on the call; on the radio side, Rick Rizzs and Aaron Goldsmith will have the call on 710 Seattle Sports 710 AM as well as on Mariners.com. If you’re out of area you can stream the game with an MLB TV package, or also via Fubo Sports if you have that package.
If you’re looking for tickets to tonight’s game, they’re still available, both from the Mariners and on secondary markets. It’s Crossbody Bag Night and I have to say: I love a functional giveaway, and these bags are useful. I know Eugenio could make a paper sack look cool but these are legitimately quite good:
Today in Mariners history:
(This is a fun thing that’s included in the game notes the Mariners send out every day. I think it’s fun, so I thought I’d share it with you. Let us know if you’d like us to continue to do so in the comments!)
- 1970 – The Seattle Pilots moves to Milwaukee (club was re-named “Brewers”).
- 1996 - The first Major League game ever played in March was a classic. Alex Rodriguez’ single in the 12th inning gave the Mariners a 3-2 win vs. White Sox before a national audience on ESPN.
- 2014 - Félix Hernández struck out 11 batters in 6.0 innings in his club-record 7th Opening Day start leading the Mariners to a 10-3 on Opening Day win over the Angels. It was the eighth straight Opening Day win for the Mariners. Justin Smoak went 2-for-4 with a 3-run home run and a double to lead the offense. The Mariners set an Opening Day club record with 7 extra base hits.
- 2018 - Ichiro Suzuki recorded his 3,801st and 3,802nd career hits, passing Hall-of-Famer Cap Anson for 21st-most all-time, in a 6-5 Mariners loss to the Indians. Robinson Canó recorded his 2,000th career appearance.