Friday was the M’s second to last day with many of their star players, as Felix Hernandez, Robinson Canó and 10 others head off to represent their respective countries in the World Baseball Classic next week. Unfortunately, Seattle’s first AL West matchup of the preseason didn’t end up being a happy beginning to the end of Spring for their stars as the Rangers pounded out seven extra-base hits including three home runs and won by a six-run margin.
It’s interesting to note that of the five Mariner victories this Spring, they’ve out-walked their opponents in four of them, the White Sox game being the only exception. In their losses to Kansas City and Texas, they’ve lost the walk battle. This is obviously a small sample set and other things besides walks go into getting wins, but it’s a good way to gauge which team is controlling the zone. The Mariners didn’t C the Z as well as the Rangers did today and wound up getting pounded.
Hisashi Iwakuma made his first start of the Spring, which probably didn’t go as well as he wanted, but we know Kuma well enough to trust that he’ll be a reliable starter and likely the anchor of the rotation with Felix’s declining performance. He allowed three hits and a walk over two innings. He’ll make a second start on Wednesday against the Indians, where he hopes to keep the ball down in the zone.
Robinson Canó continues to be DiPoto and Servais’ dream by drawing walks left and right. He drew two walks and ended with a double today. Jerrod Dyson pounded out a triple and drove in a run, but also committed an error and struck out. He’s still showing that he’s exactly who we thought he was with speed and sound defense, he tallied an outfield assist today by throwing out Ryan Rua at third base. Mitch Haniger hit his second home run of the Spring, and further convinced us that we have nothing to worry about when it comes to offensive production from the outfield.
Yovani Gallardo is slated for the start tomorrow against Colorado, he’ll be headed off to compete for Mexico in the WBC as well. Stay tuned to get a closer look at some of the smaller names in the Mariner system.