We thought we’d see a lot of pitching and defense and maybe some offensive struggles by the Mariners this year. In the photo above, Jason Vargas delivers a pitch to Ichiro. So far, the intrasquad game is living up to the team’s predicted form. I must caution you, though, that this means very little since the bats are the last thing to come around so early in the season. These guys are swinging at live pitching for the first time.
The “Home” side leads 1-0 on an unearned run scored in the bottom of the third. Jack Wilson, of all people, led the inning off with a double past the third base bag off of Shawn Kelley. Wilson made it to third on a one-out groundout and then, with two down, Chone Figgins hit a slow roller that shortstop Jack Hannahan bobbled. Hannahan recovered and threw the ball to first but the speedy Figgins beat it out. It was a tough play, but Hannahan was given an error.
Other than that, hits have been hard to come by.
There have been only three hits in the game. The “Visitors” have just an infield single by Josh Wilson.
The best chance at an earned run came in the bottom of the second when Ken Griffey Jr. drew a leadoff walk off David Aardsma. Jose Lopez lined a clean single to left that put two on with none out. But Casey Kotchman bounced a ball right to the second baseman, who tagged Lopez and then threw to first for the double play.
Griffey went to third, but Aardsma escaped the inning when Eric Byrnes hit a chopper to third. Josh Wilson came in fast, made a play on the ball and threw to a stretching first baseman Ryan Garko for the inning-ending out.
Ichiro has a pair of groundouts so far, while Milton Bradley struck out against Jason Vargas his first time up, then flied out to right field with Kelley on the mound.
Figgins reached on the error and also popped out foul to catcher Adam Moore, who made a nice play tracking the ball down.
The game’s defensive gem so far was on the Josh Wilson single towards the uncovered second base bag. Shortstop Jack Wilson ranged far to his left, made a diving snag of the ball and then nearly threw his namesake out.
He got a nice round of applause for the effort.
Brandon League had a 1-2-3 third inning, getting Matt Tuiasosopo to check swing into a strikeout on a pitch dipping low and out of the zone. Moore then grounded out before Wilson notched his infield hit. Michael Saunders then flied out to end the inning.
Mark Lowe looked particularly nasty in the second inning, getting Mike Sweeney on a deep fly to right, then Hannahan on a harmless groundout to second before blowing a called strike past a helpless-looking Michael Wilson.
The two batboys today are Felix Hernandez and Erik Bedard. They both have paper with the letters “BB” taped to the back of their uniforms.
The stands are full on a very nice day for this game.