Sad news today, as Charlie Furbush is shut down for a while. His recovery isn’t going as quickly as the Mariners would like, and what would normally be regular soreness from getting back into things is turning into more of a big deal for Furbush. Mike Montgomery may be moved to the bullpen to help, but it feels like we are losing the last vestiges of the bullpen we knew last year (and I am doleful about that for personality, not utilitarian reasons). I hope Furbush starts feeling better soon. I’d hate to lose him. Gone also now are the first round of cuts: Guillermo Heredia, Paul Fry, Marcus Littlewood, Steve Lerud, Benji Gonzalez, Tyler Smith, and Dario Pizzano. I know three of those names, two of which because I saw them play last night. Mike Baxter, Danny Hultzen, and Brad Mills were also sent down. While cuts are kind of gloomy (though I would think those guys would have realistic expectations of and for themselves, given the nature of their job), it’s exciting because it means that the roster is starting to take shape, and those that are destined for the big club can be more focused on.
While I am sitting here watching the wind and rain in Seattle (it is very cold out right now, too, which only adds to the general dreariness), the Mariners are playing in front of a sold out or near sold out crowd under blue skies and 80F weather. To say I am envious would be an understatement. Everyone has been scoreless through the first two innings, and the game has been rather slow so far. But Nate Karns just delivered a pitch that Zach Cozart sent over the wall for 2 RBI, so there’s that. And then another one for Jake Cave, score 3-0 Reds. Karns is quite suddenly not have a good day. Mike Blowers says his pitches are starting to be thrown too high; I’d check this out on GameDay, but Spring Training GameDay is not the best; I don’t know if they work out kinks in the system during this time of year or what, but I find it incredibly difficult and temperamental to use during the month of March). Karns finished the inning with a fly out to Nelson Cruz in right.
Jesus Montero was up in the bottom of the third, but struck out swinging. Chris Taylor waited through five pitches for a walk. Norichika Aoki (he prefers the longer form of his name now, from what I understand, it will take some getting used to on my part, as I have always known him as Nori) doubled to advance Taylor, and Boog Powell hit a high blooper double into mid-left field for his own double, sending both runners in. Seth Smith grounded into an out at first, score 3-2 Reds. Nate Karns had some trouble with a wild pitch in the fourth inning (and I was a little surprised to see him back in the game), but succeeded in getting out of it with no further runs. He would later give an on-air interview where he used the phrase “you know” about 20 times (I’m not exaggerating, I wish I had my pitch counter at the ready to get an exact number).
Joe Wieland started pitching for the Mariners in the top of the 5th inning, and I lost track of the action a while, getting distracted by how hard the wind has been blowing today. It’s been such a big deal, the city has shut down the 520 floating bridge, and it was even mentioned by Dave Sims on the broadcast; sit back and enjoy your margaritas, guys, you’re not missing anything by not being home. We rarely lose power here at my place, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility; I’ve been watching plant and other debris blow past our house and sometimes into our yard, as my greatest fear during such weather incidents is the garbage or recycling being blown over. Anyway, Wieland finished the inning scoreless, giving up only one hit, and I lost track of the game again briefly, but Wieland was still in the game at the top of the 7th. Jake Cave hit a huge fly foul to the left field corner, and Daniel Robertson put some mighty good wheels on in an attempt to make the out, but it bounced in the corner just before he could reach it. Good speed though, he was absolutely flying. The Mariners finished the 7th inning scoreless.
Mayckol Guiape took over for Weiland in the top of the 8th and gave up a hit, but no runs. He threw maybe 10-15 pitches, somewhere in there (GameDay, again). Caleb Cotham was in to pitch for the Reds in the bottom of the 8th, facing super-new Mariner Efren Navarro. Navarro was brought on board just within the last week or so from Anaheim by way of Baltimore, where he spent all of a month before we picked him up and gave him a minor league contract. Navarro grounded out. Rayder Escanio was also thrown out at first, and then up came Shawn O’Malley. O’Malley put an 87MPH slider into the pocket in left field for a double, standing up. Daniel Robertson was up next, and took a full count before plonking an RBI single into left; the Reds did not try to stop the runner at the plate, score 5-3 Cincinnati. Luis Liberato was up, and hacked a pitch into left field to move Robertson to third, and the next batter was Dae-Ho Lee. Lee unfortunately took a very hard swing at a very low slider, and struck out to end the inning. I’m actually quite pleased that we have a Korean player on our team; Korea is a country that has a professional league, and seems to be pretty overlooked by MLB. I am happy that the Mariners have seen something in Lee that they believe has the potential to help the team, regardless of his poor showing during this particular game. I understand he’s been doing pretty well this month.
Blake Parker hit the hill for the Ms in the top of the 9th. Parker likes to lean forward to get his signs, before standing bolt upright to set and throw. The bulk of the 16 pitches thrown at the three batters Parker faced were right in the strike zone; it was a super clean inning. If that is at all exemplary of Parker’s work, I’d like to see more of him. AJ Morris took the bump to polish us off, and first faced Tyler O’Neill. O’Neill was dispatched on 7 pitches. Rob Brantly singled, and Braden Bishop went out to pinch run for him. Tim Lopes stepped into the batter’s box and sent a short line drive over second into a double play that ended the game.
I have never been to Spring Training – I have actually opted instead to get to as many ballparks as possible, and it takes a while to save, on my paycheck – so I had no clue how large the Peoria Sports Complex actually is. Fortunately for my education, the broadcast team had access to an aerial view of the whole thing today.
The game was of course being played in the field to the left where all the cars are parked. I figured that maybe they had about 4-6 other fields for batting practice and pitching and warmups and such, but clearly this whole thing is a far bigger deal than I ever knew. I probably could have Google-Earth’d this, but it’s one of those things that I never knew I needed to know until I knew it.
Tomorrow, Felix Hernandez goes up against the Colorado Rockies. I am hoping that ESPN decides to broadcast that on their live stream, and will check, but I’m not holding my breath. I think my next task is attempting to organize a viewing party on the 26th, and to that end, I have placed a thread over on Lookout Landing. I’m going to spend the remainder of my day watching the weather and being thankful to be indoors.