The starting lineup for tonight’s televised game. Not too shabby, looks like ROOT Sports wound up with the A-squad today, while the other half of the team was playing the Cincinnati Reds in another park. James Paxton was our starter tonight.
This was Paxton’s third spring game, and he had a very successful first two innings, six up and then down. Dodgers pitcher Carlos Frias returned the favor. Paxton’s streak did not last long, however, as Alex Hassan’s hit to left got past Kyle Seager and rendered Hassan on base. Elian Herrera followed suit, with another hit to left, moving Hassan up to second, but after a line drive to center fielder Boog Powell off the bat of Enrique Hernandez, and Trayce Thompson caught looking, Paxton managed to end the inning.
Franklin Guiterrez was up for the Mariners in the bottom of the third, and after taking a look at three pitches, sent the fourth into a nice hole in center field for a single. New catcher Steve Clevenger bopped a triple into the left field corner pocket, sending Gutz home with a nice easy slide as the ball escaped the Dodgers’ catcher. The Mariners were on the board. Boog Powell sacrificed himself with a chopper to second, allowing Clevenger to hit the plate easily. Nori Aoki continued the contact trend with a single. Ketel Marte clipped one up into shallow left field, but neither the third baseman nor the left fielder were able to get it; they did, however, manage to get Aoki out at second once they got hands on the ball. With two outs and one on, Robinson Cano hit into the second baseman and ended the inning.
Andre Ethier took a single from Paxton in the top of the 4th, as did Scott Van Slyke. A brief mound conference later, and AJ Ellis grounded into a double play, reducing the Dodger threat to a single runner at third. But Ketel Marte threw wide from second to Adam Lind at first, and Ethier scored for LA. New pitcher Ross Stripling did not allow the Mariners any advantage in the bottom of this inning.
New guy Jonathan Aro, a Cuban righty we plucked from the Red Sox, took Paxton’s place on the hill for the top of the 5th, and it was at this point that I realized exactly how fast Paxton and Frias had been dealing. Top 5th in an hour? Crazy stuff! But our 2-1 lead was not to last. Elian Herrera smacked one over the berm in right field, sending fans scattering in the grass, and two runners home. The Mariners did not score in a very long bottom of the 5th, but they took two walks, and Nori Aoki had a very impressive at-bat. The Ms continued to hold LA at bay through the top of the 6th, then Robinson Cano struck a 90MPH 4-seamer over the right field wall, tying the game 3-3.
Aquasox pitcher Andrew Moore took the hill in the 6th and continued into the 7th, giving up a run to the Dodgers on a Brandon Trinkwon single. The middle of Spring Training games gets blurry for me when I’m trying to write, due to both teams replacing players to get guys work; and these split squad games are even worse because everyone gets used at some point, and a lot of those guys are invitees who get unnamed jerseys. I will probably never write the name Brandon Trinkwon again. In any event, the game tied up again when Arby Fields stole second, then third when the Dodgers missed the throw from the plate. Fields was driven in by Steve Clevenger’s sacrifice ground out, to tie the game once again 4-4. Daniel Robertson put some good eyes on the ball and took a walk with two outs, and Drew Jackson stepped to the plate and flew out to center. On to the 8th inning.
Ryan Horstman came out for the 8th inning for the Mariners, and promptly gave a walk to the Dodgers. The top of the 8th remained uneventful. New acquisition Rob Brantly got a single and was pinch run for by youngster Austin Cousino. Cousino, apparently inspired by the recent spate of base stealing the Mariners coaching staff has been trying to cultivate this year, attempted a steal, and was picked off pretty easily. He did try to raise his arm to avoid the tag as he slid face-first into the base (a great move, given he had so little time to react and the run was carried out rather poorly, but the Dodgers 2B got him in the side.
The top of the 9th saw Justin DeFratus hitting the hill to pitch, and took down Elian Herrera on strikes. Brandon Trinkwon met a similar fate (I wrote it again!). DeFratus’s third batter, Rico Noel, was awarded a base for reasons unknown to me. I suppose the umpire called it a hit by pitch and told him to go, but replay showed that in spite of the high and outside throw, the ball clearly did not touch Noel, he had been able to back up to avoid it. While DeFratus did battle with Jacob Scavuzzo, Noel stole second. DeFratus threw over 25 pitches in that inning, and finally got his last batter out.
Tied as it was in the bottom of the 9th, Dave Sims mentioned on air that the game would go only as far as the 10th inning, regardless of the tie. Grant Dayton came up to sling for the Dodgers. Arby Fields, a Clinton Lumberking, took a walk on 6 pitches. Fields then stole second again. Steven Lerud took a full count and a walk. Guillermo Heredia attempted a bunt, and it would have been a great one, but it rolled foul near the plate. No mind, he attempted it again and it was perfectly executed, sacrificing himself to move Fields to third. Poor Daniel Robertson got pitched around to load the bases, and wasn’t happen about it, very clearly complaining “Oh, come ON!” as the Dodgers pitched around him. The Dodgers changed pitchers, sending in magnificently beared and bespectacled Red Patterson in to deal with the loaded bases. Drew Jackson was taken out swinging. Tim Lopes tried his best to bring a runner in, but a midfield pop-up ended the 9th.
Raphael Pineda had the helm in the 10th inning, and that is all maybe you need to know about that. Rob Segedin absolutely killed a fastball into the left center grass on the wrong side of the fence. Well, the right side if you’re a Dodgers fan. The dodgers would get more runs in the top of the 10th; four more runs, to be precise. Tyler Smith shot a double over the center fielder’s head with two outs, and Arby Fields was up once again.Fields also took a full count and a walk. Steve Lerud smacked a single to the middle to load the bases, and Guillermo Heredia made pitcher Rob Rogers work before getting Heredia to foul tip into the catcher’s glove for the final out.
Whew, that was a long one!
It was nice to finally be able to see the guys out and doing what they do. I think my two takeaways from this game were Arby Fields’ plate discipline and his speed and willingness to be so alert and in the game, and Boog Powell’s coverage of center field. We didn’t win, but it’s great because it doesn’t matter, right? Tomorrow the whole team goes up against the Reds at 1pm, but for now I have got to get to sleep. It’s been a long day.