I’m ashamed to say it, but I have a team on the side. That’s right, after a literal lifetime of cheering for the Mariners, I justified picking up a National League squad to hold me over when things get especially appalling as a Mariner fan. That National League team beat Seattle today by five runs. Obviously, when the two teams meet, Seattle always takes priority, but I pay special attention to these games and see where both teams are at. Since this is a Mariners site, let’s focus on the best franchise in baseball (in my opinion, and hopefully yours, too).
Walks = Wins
The Mariners lost the walk battle today, 5-2. I point this out at the risk of looking like a Captain Obvious not unlike John Madden or Dave Niehaus’ former broadcast partner Ron Fairly (I distinctly remember watching Tom Lampkin hit a grand slam on TV, hearing Dave go through his classic ‘get out the rye bread and mustard grandma’ routine, and as things quiet down, Ron says: “That was a grand slam”), but oft times, if the Mariners win the walk battle, they win the game. It’s a sign that they’re controlling the zone and playing with confidence, rather than playing desperately or playing from behind. Los Angeles has been a perennial contender, and with an experienced roster with experience in pressure situations, they’ve shown their composure and ability to control their at-bats. Seattle, while they have a lot of veterans, is still a very young team. DiPoto and Servais are certainly trying to get the squad to that level of composure, and with time their roster will gain greater cohesion to go with the experience of veterans like Canó, Felix, and Cruz.
Smyly Dominates in WBC Play
Drew Smyly got the start in the United States’ win over Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic today, and he continued his dominant play that we saw over his Spring Training starts. Over 4.2 innings, he struck out eight and allowed zero walks, and didn’t allow an earned run. His fastball was on point, reaching 94 MPH. His stats last season in Tampa weren’t stellar, with a 4.88 ERA, but he’s found new life in Seattle. Hopefully he doesn’t fizzle out before the season starts.
Felix got the start for Venezuela, and was absolutely dominant. In his five innings pitched, he retired the side in four of them, and only allowed three hits. King Felix, in spite of my fears, is looking more like his old self, and I couldn’t be happier to be wrong.
Venezuela faces the Dominican Republic, a dangerous position to be in as the mighty Dominican lineup comes off a loss from Puerto Rico, and they’ll be pissed. The United States takes their momentum into their game Friday against Puerto Rico.
The M’s face off against Kansas City in Surprise tomorrow, Chase de Jong hopes to get redemption for his last start, which was awful. Just being honest.