March 16, 2013 at 1:14 PM
Game thread: Erasmo Ramirez continues bid at starting rotation for Mariners
Well, we can certainly draw a few conclusions about Erasmo Ramirez’s outing this afternoon, which is likely now over with the Mariners on top 4-2 to begin the 7th. Ramirez went six innings, allowing two runs on eight hits — five of them doubles — while striking out four and walking one.
The first conclusion we can make is that Ramirez did a good job of containing the damage. When you give up that many doubles and only two runs, you’ve got to be a bit lucky and also a bit good when it matters.
The one downside to his outing today was the way left-handed hitters raked him pretty good. Four of the five doubles were hit by lefties, including one by Reid Brignac in the seventh that went to the right-center gap to bring home a run. None of the doubles today were cheapies — they were all hit pretty hard and deep to the gaps, so that’s something Ramirez needs to work on. Throwing inside to lefties will back them off the plate a bit so they can’t get around on stuff like they were doing today. All of the doubles went to right-center, so Ramirez wasn’t doing the job in that department.
Again, when the team evaluates his outing, they’ll like the job done containing the damage. That’s part of keeping your composure and getting stuff done at the big league level. But they’ll also wonder about the lefty thing and why they were able to tee-off on Ramirez like they did today.
2:52 p.m.: The Mariners just scored three runs in the fifth inning to go up 4-1, aided by the first homer of the spring by Kendrys Morales while batting right handed. Drew Pomeranz struck out the first two batters in the inning, then watched Morales golf one over the left field wall.
Michael Morse reached on a single after that and Jesus Montero stroked a well-placed double to the right-center gap that scored him. Carlos Peguero singled after that to score yet another two-out run.
Erasmo Ramirez is back out to work the bottom of the fifth.
1:14 p.m.: The fourth inning was another test for Erasmo Ramirez, who got the first batter on a flyout to left — first time today he’s retired the leadoff guy — but then Charlie Blackmon stepped in and drilled a long double off the wall in right-center. Ramirez recovered after that, getting Reid Brignac on a groundout and then striking out pitcher Drew Pomeranz.
Colorado has notched six hits — three of them doubles — off Ramirez in his four innings. Four of the hits are from guys batting left-handed — including all three doubles. So, that’s something worth noting when you evaluate Ramirez today.
Still tied 1-1 as we head to the fifth.
2:11 p.m.: It’s been an interesting day so far for Erasmo Ramirez, who has allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base on a hit in three consecutive innings. But once again in the third, Ramirez bore down when he had to and kept the game tied 1-1 as we head to the fourth. Jordan Pacheco had the hard leadoff single this time in the third, then Troy Tulowitzki hit a long drive to center that was hauled in by Michael Saunders. Pacheco stole second after that, then took third when Jesus Sucre threw the ball into center field.
But Ramirez came back with a strikeout on Wilin Rosario and a 4-3 groundout by Tyler Colvin. So, other than leadoff batters today, Ramirez has looked pretty good.
The Mariners had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the third, but Carlos Peguero grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
2:02 p.m.: We’re tied 1-1 after two inning of play as Carlos Peguero led off the second with a single, advanced to second on a bunt and then scored on a Nick Franklin single grounded through the right side.
Erasmo Ramirez gave up a long leadoff double off the wall in right center to Charlie Blackmon in the bottom of the frame. A bunt moved the runner to third, but then Brendan Ryan did a good job getting his body in front of a hard smash by pitcher Drew Pomeranz. Ryan kept the ball in front of him as it deflected off his glove. He then held the runner and threw Pomeranz out.
Eric Young Jr. grounded out to second and Ramirez was out of a jam. Ramirez has twice left balls up to the leadoff hitter in an inning, then kept things lower in the zone after that. We’ll see whether the trend continues in the third.
1:35 p.m.: We’re at Salt River Fields today, with Erasmo Ramirez and the Mariners taking on the Colorado Rockies. We’ve spelled out the situation the last 24 hours: there’s a very good chance Jon Garland makes the team, despite what happened to him last night against The Netherlands. Garland is generating interest from other teams and isn’t going to go to Class AAA with the Mariners if they don’t want to keep hi on the 25-man squad.
So, if that sticks, it means Ramirez is battling it out with Blake Beavan, Brandon Maurer and Jeremy Bonderman for the last rotation job.
For Ramirez, the key will be to keep throwing inside like he has for much of the spring. And to locate his pitches down and on the edges instead of right over the plate like he used to do. He’s still a strike-thrower and won’t walk too many. But he can’t leave his pitches hittable.
Ramirez left at least one pitch pretty hittable in the first inning and it was drilled to the left-center gap by leadoff man Eric Young Jr. for a double. Jordan Pacheco then grounded one through the left side to put runners at the corners with none out. A soft liner by Troy Tulowitzki was caught by second baseman Nick Franklin for the first out, but then a sac fly by Wilin Rosario produced the first earned run Ramirez has given up this spring.
Ramirez yielded another ground ball single that inning before getting out of it with a grounder to third and trails 1-0 after one.
The two singles I’m not so worried about because they were grounders and had eyes on them. Ramirez actually did a pretty good job of pitching after the double and the sac fly wasn’t too deep. Young is just too fast and scored easily. So, we’ll see what Ramirez does from here. Other than the double, like I said, he wasn’t too bad.
The Mariners are facing Rockies left-hander Drew Pomeranz, who notched a pair of first inning strikeouts before singles by Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse. Jesus Montero grounded out to second to end the threat.