Any sight or mention of Tim Lincecum is rarely welcome for the Mariners, and such was the case again today as his 3.2 shutout innings helped pave the way for an eventual 6-1 win here for the Giants.
Lincecum (pictured above in today’s game in a John Lok photo) struck out seven and while he was a little inconsistent (walking three and giving up three singles) the Mariners couldn’t do any damage.
In fact, the Mariners didn’t do much against any pitcher today with just six hits overall, five singles and a Ryan Langerhans double that drove in the only run in the sixth. The standings, though, are hardly a concern this time of year. And this was obviously kind of a B lineup for the Mariners for the most part, the team giving a lot of at-bats to younger players or those on the fringe of a job, a common tactic this time of year.
So that’s where the focus is.
For starter Nate Robertson, an invited free agent who falls into the category of fighting for a job (a spot in the rotation) the results were mixed. He gave up four earned runs and four hits in three innings while also walking two, and later said he knows he has to do better.
“From the second inning on there I just didn’t finish a couple of my pitches,” he said. “And then it’s inexcusable to walk guys — both of them scored. A couple of times tried to come in and caught a little too much of the plate and I left a change-up up to Miguel (Tejada) there in the third (that turned into a two-run triple) and that was about it.”
Robertson had impressed with two scoreless innings, with three strikeouts, in his first start, and said he’s “just get back to what I did in the first outing, just in that game I really commanded the ball in the zone and didn’t walk anybody. Got to give yourself a chance. Give free base runners and you create situations that even if you just serve one up make them earn their base. Work on things in a side session and tighten it up a little bit. But as far as healthwise, arm feels great and legs feel good and that’s what’s important at this stage.”
One tough outing this time of year, though, he says is hardly cause for concern.
“It’s kind of a tune up for everybody (this time of year) but at the same time you’ve got to make impressions, too,” he said. “I’ve been in a couple of these and I’m working on things, so I don’t put too much stock into throwing two scoreless innings last time and doing what I did today. It’s kind of once we get deeper into it and you’ve got you’re a lineups out there and getting out to your 5-6-7 innings that’s when (got to make an impression). … But even today still got to make your impressions. I’m not going to go home happy about it but you walk off the field and I’ve got my health and that’s where there is no question there, so now it’s just a matter of getting everything tightened up and coming back out and working on it and putting it into play.”
Manager Eric Wedge, however, wasn’t too harsh on Robertson saying “he had good stuff. He didn’t finish off a few pitches, that was the only time he got into trouble, but all of his pitches were working the way they needed to be working and I felt like he had good stuff today. . … When you talk about a guy working toward the rotation, you’ve got to give him some time and a day like today is a perfect example where you have to evaluate his stuff and see how he makes adjustments from pitch to pitch or hitter to hitter and I felt like he did that.”
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Blake Beavan, who followed Robertson, struck out two in the fourth, then gave up two runs on three hits in the fifth. Again, though, Wedge said he mostly liked what he saw. “I was really impressed with the way he threw the ball today. He was composed out there. He was keeping the ball down for the most part. Used all of his pitches as well and was pretty aggressive. I liked the way he threw the ball today.”
— Dustin Ackley made an error on a grounder that he initially bobbled, then threw away, his first error of the spring. Said Wedge: “That’s a tough play, and a play he will make in time. That’s why you want to continue to give him reps out there. It’s tough to duplicate so many different types of plays in the game so the only way you can give him that type of repetition is to let him go out there and play.” Ackley went 1-3 at the plate with a walk, the hit a single to center off Lincecum leading off the game.
— Justin Smoak was 0-4, struck out twice and hit into a double play and is 2-15 for the spring. But he also turned in a highlight-reel defensive play leaping high to snare a drive and turning it into a double play. “That was a hell of a play,” Wedge said. “That ball was really smoked too, no pun intended. And he reacted well and had enough of a head about him to immediately react and get back to the bag.”
— Felix Hernandez will make his first start of the spring Monday against the A’s in Phoenix. “It’s just another step as he works through this spring with Felix tomorrow and (Jason) Vargas the day after that, so it’s it will be good to get them out there.”
— Wedge on Miguel Olivo’s status: “We’ll have to wait and see. Still evaluating the tests. … We are not exactly sure what kind of time frame we are looking at, but obviously this is going to give those other guys more of an opportunity for us to take a look at them.”