I’m not really keeping track of Spring Training games this year, with the exception of poking around online for news about how things are in general, who’s being let go/sent down, and other light news. I think the first few weeks of ST really got me wishing the season proper would just hurry up and get here; I am ready for the games to start counting now, ready for Opening Day, the home opener, ready for baseball.
The roster this evening was a pretty good impression of a major league roster, with Brandon Maurer taking care of the starting pitching duties. I haven’t heard much about Maurer, but I started paying a little more attention when I found out that he was the only one of the Danny Hultzen/Taijuan Walker/ James Paxton group that didn’t wind up in the round of cuts that sent the rest of those guys back to the minors for more polishing. When I saw that he was starting, I figured maybe watching more Futurama on Netflix could wait for a few days. I’m glad I decided to tune in rather than be lazy and tune out because Maurer’s performance this evening against a group of recent World Series winners was quite good; 5 full innings with 3 hits and 1 run/earned run. He threw 62 pitches, 42 of which were strikes, and managed 4 strike outs. Now I’m no scientist, but that sounds pretty good. Most of Maurer’s lobs were all over the place, from low-80s to low 90s, and according to GameDay, a variety the like of which is rarely seen at a major league level. When Maurer was not trying to lull batters into a false sense of security with a low 90s fastball, he was smoking past them with an 83MPH slider, or an 89MPH changeup. All over the map. As of tonight, my first sighting of him, I am really hoping that Brandon Maurer makes the starting rotation. I would love to see how this translates into the majors.
Tom Wilhelmsen was tossed into the 6th inning, and did not have a good time of things. I cannot remember who it was that was being interviewed, but I do remember a closer saying that middle innings were no good for performance because of the lack of pressure. It might have been David Aardsma. Maybe it was Wilhelmsen himself. I would imagine that a lack of pressure in the 6th combined with a lack of pressure in general probably doesn’t lend itself well to the highest of performances, but it’s a good thing to keep Wilhelmsen throwing in competition if for nothing else than to keep him loose.
Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse were the doers of good defensively this evening, along with a 3-6-3 double play in the first inning to get Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence out; this last bit was between Morales and the guy at short today, Brad Miller. Miller is another one I haven’t been hearing much about, but it’s nearly April, and he’s still here, so who knows what will happen. Nick Franklin did his part by going 2 for 2 as of the time I am writing this down. I am preparing myself to lose Casper Wells. I don’t think anyone is ever prepared to lose the players they like, no matter if you can see it coming or not. But I am doing my best to try and convince myself that he will not be with us come April 1st. I won’t like it, and I will miss him, but I know it might have to be done.
I hate to end this so abruptly, and I hate even more to bail on this game in the bottom of the 7th, but it’s been a long day, and I am definitely needing to get to sleep. Have to save my staying up time for when the games start counting, when watching baseball becomes a Necessary Thing(TM), and I don’t mind getting up at 5AM after a game.
Aaand Kendrys Morales just hit a home run to give the Ms a 5-3 lead. I can sleep now; I won’t when we get started