ADDITIONAL NOTE: If you missed my earlier tweet, the Mariners have optioned right-handed pitcher Chaz Roe to Class AAA and re-assigned left-handed pitcher Chris Seddon to minor league camp.
Seattle got the bats going in the sixth, scoring three times to take a 4-3 lead. A leadoff walk by Jack Cust was followed by a double drilled off the wall in center field in impressive fashion by Justin Smoak. He Smoak-ed it, you could say.
That put runners on second and third. Adam Kennedy then lined one to right field that ate up the outfielder and got by him for a two-run double. Adam Moore later drove Kennedy home with a sacrifice fly to right.
Cesar Jimenez found himself in a bases-loaded, none out situation in the top of the frame, but escaped on a 1-2-3 double-play comebacker and then a foul pop-out behind first base.
2:55 p.m.: Doug Fister bowed out after 78 pitches over 4 1/3 innings. He gave up the two runs on six hits with three walks sprinkled in. So, allowing just the two runs after nine runners reached base was a bit of an accomplishment.
We’re tied 2-2 after five innings. Chone Figgins doubled home Josh Wilson with two out for the equalizer. Wilson reached on a single and then stole second with Figgins batting. Figgins then hit one in the gap to right center.
Fister admitted after his outing that he still has work to do. He felt great physically, saying he still “had something left in the tank” when done, but admitted he left too many pitches up and was missing his spots frequently.
He said he had to make frequent adjustments early on. I asked whether he’d gone through these types of in-game adjustments last spring.
“I think it’s different each spring,” he said. “I think it’s a day-to-day process and a pitch-to-pitch focus.”
2:10 p.m.: Seattle small-balled its way to a run in the third inning, cutting Chicago’s lead to 2-1.
Josh Wilson beat out an infield singled chopped towards second base to start the inning off. Adam Moore followed with a walk and then a fielder’s choice by Ichiro put runners at the corners with one out.
Chone Figgins then beat out an infield hit towards the hole at shortstop, scoring the run. Franklin Gutierrez struck out from there — the runners moving up on a double-steal — and then Jack Cust grounded out to first.
1:47 p.m.: Some solid defense kept the Cubs from extending their 2-0 lead in the second inning. Chicago put runners on second and third with one out when Kosuke Fukodome hit a sinking liner towards countryman Ichiro in right field.
Ichiro snared the ball and the runner held at third.
Reed Johnson then chopped a ball deep behind the bag at third. Chone Figgins gloved it and then made as hard a throw as he possibly can to first base and nailed the deceptively quick Johnson by an eyelash.
That’s three hits and two walks allowed by Fister over his first two innings. He’s struggling with his location again.
The Mariners saw Justin Smoak reach first on a one-out single in the bottom of the frame. Adam Kennedy then bounced into a fielder’s choice for the second out. Kennedy took second on a balk, but Brendan Ryan flied out to right to end the frame.
1:32 p.m: Rough first inning for Doug Fister, who trails 2-0 after yielding a walk, a double to Scott Moore and then a two-run double to left by onetime Mariners first baseman Bryan LaHair. The Mariners didn’t do anything in the bottom of the frame. Chone Figgins drew a one-out walk, but was erased at second base on a strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play with Franklin Gutierrez doing the whiffing.
1:05 p.m.: Doug Fister takes the mound today. Yes, he’ll be in the starting rotation. The question is, who comes after him?
Right now, Michael Pineda and Luke french are the frontrunners.
Charlie Haeger is way behind the other arms in terms of innings worked, while David Pauley has been looked at primarily as a reliever up until now. In other words, he also hasn’t been built up enough. But there is still time for the team to get him there if it wants to and starts the process now.
RF Kosuke Fukodome
CF Reed Johnson
2B Scott Moore
LF Luis Montanez
1B Bryan LaHair
3B Josh Vitters
C Welington Castillo
SS Darwin Barney
RHP Matt Garza
3B Chone Figgins
CF Franklin Gutierrez
DH Jack Cust
1B Justin Smoak
LF Adam Kennedy
2B Brendan Ryan
SS Josh Wilson
C Adam Moore
RHP Doug Fister