The Lookout Landing staff would like to advise all passengers boarding the Jarred Kelenic is Fixed Hype Train to please remember safety precautions and prepare themselves accordingly for the Regular Season portion of our journey. Until then we would like to offer you to enjoy your refreshment of choice, and the trip as a whole. GOMS.
If yesterday was the epitome of a Spring Training game, so was today, only in the Seattle Mariners’ favor. With mixed rosters of starters and hopefuls on both sides, its “does not count” status didn’t keep it from having some genuinely enjoyable highlights.
- Brandon Woodruff made his first start of spring for the Brewers, and was immediately in regular season form in the first inning, including getting Jarred Kelenic and Teoscar Hernández to strike out. His second inning was slightly less dominant, with AJ Pollock singling on a grounder up the middle, and Tom Murphy and Evan White both hitting balls hard enough to reach the warning track, but were easily caught there. One Colin Moran fly out later and Woodruff finished his two innings of the game, opening an easier path of opportunity for the M’s offense. Why did I start with a note about a Brewers player? This bullet point was less about that and more about Kelenic and Teoscar, who achieved some payback later (although against different pitchers).
- Chris Flexen looked perfectly serviceable across three innings, giving up two hits, a walk, and striking out one. The walk came against Christian Yelich in the bottom of the first after a full count, and a couple of different pitches that easily could have gone Flexen’s way for a strikeout. Willy Adames was the strikeout, and both hits he gave up were doubles, to Keston Hiura and Christian Yelich, who was likely getting revenge for letting the Mariners get on the board (more on that in a second).
- Seattle first scored in the third inning. With two outs Mason McCoy drew a walk, and then in a play that is the first listed definition under Spring Training Things, Kelenic reached first moving McCoy to second on what could have been an easy fly to Yelich in left, only for it to get lost in the Arizona sun and for him to flinch in a crouch as it landed a foot to his right. When Yelich did retrieve the ball, the throw to third was offline and both McCoy and Kelenic advanced on the error. Teoscar Hernández hit a ball that almost took out former Mariner Abraham Toro, singling and scoring both runners, but when Yelich bobbled the ball Teo was able to advance to second.
- Cooper Hummel, today’s starting DH, managed to land his third hit of spring, which just also happened to be his second home run, a two-run shot in the top of the fourth, scoring Tom Murphy who was on base after a double up the third base line.
- Jarred Kelenic had a solid day in center field, running down a couple balls and looking competent, but his real highlight of the day was hitting his fourth home run of spring. It came against the formidable Devin Williams, after he sat on a couple of off-speed pitches and punished a fast ball. I mean an absolutely punished, crushed, demolished, annihilated, that ball said-something-about-his-momma kind of a home run that cleared the batter’s eye and put the Mariners up 5-0 in the top of the fifth. Don’t take my word for it, if you haven’t yet, you must watch it for yourself.
Spring Training refreshments like that highlight are served with copious grains of salt along the rim, but for what it is worth Kelenic is batting .412 this spring so far with a 1.118 SLG (!) and a 1.530 OPS (!!).
- Brian OKeefe didn’t want to be left out of the home run party, hitting one off of Gus Varland in the top of the sixth and giving the Mariners their sixth and final run of the night.
- Jonatan Clase grinded out another spring hit in his lone at bat today, golfing a 2-2 slider for a double off the wall.
- Evan White had a relatively cold night after being scratched the other day. He did manage to reach the warning track in his fly-out in the second on what was otherwise good contact, laid down a successful sacrifice bunt in the fourth to advance Tom Murphy to third, and struck out swinging in his last appearance in the 6th.
- Seattle pitching combined for eleven strikeouts on the night and only gave up one walk and six hits. Every pitcher that appeared racked up at least one K. Paul Sewald took over for Flexen and worked one inning, giving up a hit and striking out two. Diego Castillo was next up to work one, and his inning was a clean one with a fun surprise. He got Toro to hit an easy chopper to first, then struck out Garrett Mitchell and Joey Wiemer. The surprise was the changeup he was throwing to good effect, including being the strikeout pitch he got Garrett Mitchell on. Chris Clarke appeared for one inning, giving up no hits and striking out one. Brennan Bernardino had a particularly good appearance, staying in for two innings, only giving up one hit to Skye Bolt, and striking out four. He did also have two pitch clock violations at the start of two separate batters in his first inning. Nick Margevicius was the last to appear in the bottom of the ninth. He started off allowing a double from Brice Turang who hit it to the left field corner, later advanced to third on a ground out, and scored the Brew Crew’s lone run on a tough liner Axel Sanchez managed to stop at short, but wasn’t able to recover in time to make the play and threw wide to first. Nicky Marge was able to finish out the game with a strike out against Jon Singleton.
Many of Seattle’s best players will be missing upcoming games due to appearing in the World Baseball Classic, but there should be plenty of reasons to keep watching (the games that are televised) as players fight for roster spots, and as the Kelenic Hype Train keeps (finally) chugging along.