Mariners Spring Training Game Two: Mariners 13, Padres 2

The Mariners have assembled what is likely to be the most amazing group of mall-walkers in the history of consumerism. Mark my words, the first post-retirement purchase of Robinson Canó will be a flashy tracksuit that he’ll rock while pacing the floors of the mall nearest to his home.

In two Spring Training games, Canó has drawn three walks all on his own, the Mariners have drawn nineteen walks in total. That is insane, and it’s absolutely on purpose. The M’s biggest weapon going forward happens to be the most boring baseball play to watch, but I couldn’t love it more.

The “Control the Zone” or “C the Z” philosophy is in full effect, and the results are glorious so far. The Mariners aren’t launching home runs, they’re simply loading the bases with walks and base hits and getting hits when it counts. It’s wonderfully simple and it’s resulted in thirteen runs in each game. Of course, this won’t be every single game over a 162 game season, but it’s a wonderful sign. According to Greg Johns, manager Scott Servais said: “We had a lot of long at-bats and they struggled getting it over the plate a little bit. But we didn’t chase. We stayed with our plan.” The plan is going swimmingly, Scott.

DiPoto’s love for sabermetrics is clear in his C the Z philosophy, in which walks and anything to boost On-Base Percentage is priority. Watch for a major lack of sacrifice flies over this season; moneyballers hate sacrifice plays. They waste a precious out for a single run, and wasting outs is a cardinal sin amongst sabermetricians.

Again, Nelson Cruz clubbed a homer to left field; his power doesn’t seem to be tapering off at all leading into his age thirty-six season.  Segura sat the game out today, and we got our first view of Carlos Ruiz and Danny Valencia, who each drew two walks and scored three runs between the two of them.

The fielding has been sound amongst the Mariners, the only errors have come from Dean Kiekhefer and Shawn O’Malley; the starters are doing their jobs, the pitchers are getting outs, everything according to plan. Guillermo Heredia followed up his offensive masterpiece of a game yesterday with a solid defensive play ranging to his right. He’s looking like a solid platoon member and a contributor for the regular season.

The M’s host the Royals tomorrow in Peoria, watch for another victory.