Mariners Spring Training Game Twenty: Mariners 9, Royals 2

I wonder how Jerry DiPoto feels about wins like this.

Obviously, he’s got to be happy; a win is a win. My wondering comes from knowing how much he loves sabermetrics, and understanding that most sabermetricians HATE sacrifice plays. Four of the Mariners’ nine runs today came off of sacrifice plays. To any casual observer or even devoted fan, sacrifice plays can look like a solid baseball play, I mean, it scores a run, doesn’t it? Apparently the trade-off of a run, of which there can be an infinite amount in any given inning, for an out, of which there are only three, is not worth it.

I say a win is a win, but maybe other people think otherwise.

Opportunistic Shank

No, I’m not talking about a chance/violent encounter between prisoners, I’m talking about third baseman Zach Shank. He went 0-2 in yesterday’s game, but he drew a walk in his only plate appearance of the day. The same can be said for the Mariners’ win against the White Sox on Tuesday. Shank’s provided solid defense and excellent plate appearances; the fact that in his only plate appearance of a game he would keep the presence of mind to draw a walk, rather than swing for the fences, shows 1. His maturity and patience at the plate and 2. What the Mariners define as making the most of your plate appearances. Going back to sabermetrics, anything, literally anything to get on base and extend an inning, is priority. When that anything is making a pitcher throw more pitches, and throwing enough bad ones to give you a free bag, all the better.

Boogie Afternoons

Boog Powell has had an excellent Spring, to put it simply. He came through with three hits, including a double, and drove in two runs today. He’ll start the season with a few games left in his 80-game suspension for a positive PED test last season, and is showing his potential to contribute once he finishes his suspension. He spent the Winter playing for Mariner third base coach Manny Acta’s Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League to stay active and in the game, and his work there is paying dividends here so far this Spring. He’s collected fifteen hits in twenty-six at bats and driven in six. He’ll likely start in AAA off his suspension, but he’s a valuable addition to the franchise and one of the many guys Mariner fans should be excited about as time goes on.

We have great starters

It can’t be iterated enough how amazing the USA-Venezuela game was for Mariner fans. Two of the starters for Seattle absolutely lit up the opposition. Keep in mind, they weren’t facing a Spring Training lineup of AA and A guys; Smyly had to deal with Victor Martinez, Rougned Odor, Miggy Cabrera, and others, while Felix had his hands full with Eric Hosmer, Adam Jones, Ian Kinsler and company. The M’s are in great hands this year.

Felix’s Venezuela squad faces a powerful Dominican team tonight, while the US faces Edwin Diaz and Puerto Rico tomorrow night. Fun fact: Edwin Diaz struck out Mariner shortstop Jean Segura to end their matchup on Tuesday night. Gotta love it.

The M’s have a split squad tomorrow; Yovani Gallardo gets the start against the Diamondbacks in Talking Stick, while Ariel Miranda leads the M’s against arguably the best pitcher alive, Clayton Kershaw, in Camelback Ranch against the Dodgers.