Mariners Spring Training Game Four: Mariners 8, White Sox 1

Guillermo Heredia is having the time of his life right now, and the Mariner outfield is looking more and more impressive every day. Granted, they won’t be swinging against AAA pitchers all season long, but what we’re seeing is run production and good at-bats from a young and inexperienced outfield. It’s a great sign.

Heredia had perhaps the most exciting at-bat of the day, flying around the bases for a triple and strolling home on an errant throw. He’s tearing it up at the plate, playing sound defense in multiple outfield positions, and is making a solid case for his place on the 40-man roster on opening day.

King Felix made his first start of the Spring and is looking like last season wasn’t just a slump. He came away with the win but recorded zero strikeouts, one walk, and allowed the only Chicago run of the game in two innings of work. This is a bad sign, but not completely unexpected. Players get old, and pitchers in particular can change literally overnight. As I’ve mentioned before, he goes into this season with the benefit of pitching in Safeco, where he’ll have the luxury of allowing fly balls and won’t be expected to put up major strikeout numbers. If today is an indication of where he stands, his reign as the anchor of the rotation is over.

On the bright side, some of the question marks coming into the season had great outings today. Haniger had two hits including a home run and drove in three runs, and Vogelbach came away with an RBI double. I expect Valencia to split a bit of time with Vogelbach while he gets his feet under him a bit more.

The defense was stellar today, as well. They came away without any errors and the infield turned four double plays. Seattle has always had a solid defensive team, I admit I’ve had some fear that all the trades would compromise the defensive integrity, but things are looking as solid as ever.

The Mariners square off against Cleveland tomorrow in Goodyear, we’ll get our first look at Drew Smyly in a Mariner uniform, and the lineup will have a good challenge against everyone’s favorite drone mechanic Trevor Bauer. Stay tuned and Go M’s.