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March 17, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Game thread: Mariners starter Blake Beavan needs strong outing against Rangers

Konrad Schmidt hit ball hard off Blake Beavan, but it goes for lineout to right to end second inning.

Konrad Schmidt hit ball hard off Blake Beavan, but it goes for lineout to right to end second inning.

Just in case you weren’t tuned in to Sirius XM Sports earlier today, here’s my appearance on the fantasy baseball show with Craig Mish.

Blake Beavan got through six innings on 61 pitches today, giving up a run on three hits to help the Mariners hold their 2-1 lead. We’re now into the eighth with the score still the same. Carter Capps mowed through the Rangers in the seventh with two striekouts and a lineout to center.

As far as Beavan goes, we’ll have to ask him about some of those deep fly balls he gave up. I know he’s worked to keep his pitches down and get more ground balls — there were plenty of those today. But there were also quite a few balls hit in the air and some of them pretty deep. Again, this was not a regular MLB lineup he was facing today, so you have to temper some of the stats enthusiasm. Will be interesting to see what Eric Wedge thought of his outing.

2:44 p.m.: Well, the Mariners finally got a hit and it was a big one as Raul Ibanez unloaded on a Joe Nathan offering in the fourth with a runner on and sent it screaming deep on to the grass berm beyond the right field wall. So, it’s now a 2-1 game, Mariners in the lead. Blake Beavan got the side in order to start the fifth, though Lewis Brinston hit him hard for the second time today and drove one to the warning track in right center before it was hauled in for the final out of the frame.

Felix Hernandez threw four innings of three-hit ball in that Class A game over on the other field. He had a tough time in the first inning, missing the zone with quite a few pitches, but eventually settled in a gave up a lone run on three hits. One of the hits was a double and Hernandez also hit a batter with an 0-2 pitch while trying to go inside. He struck out six, didn’t walk anyone and reached his 65-pitch target.

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2:02 p.m.: Blake Beavan didn’t fare so well the second time around against this Texas Rangers lineup andf trails 1-0 midway through the fourth. The big hit was by Jim Adduci, who sent a towering drive off the top of the batter’s eye in dead center for a one-out triple. Adduci — a Canadian, I have to add — had that earlier blast to the warning track in the first inning. Anyhow, the next guy up, Lance Berkman, doubled down the left field line to bring in the run. Jeff Baker (not a Canadian, but close enough) then singled to left field and an error by Kyle Seager on the relay back in put runners at second and third with only one out.

But Beavan caught a break when Brandon Snyder lined out to second for the second out. An ensuing groundout by Konrad Schmidt ended the threat. But make no mistake: Beavan was hit pretty good that frame.

Another thing I’ve noticed today is that the Mariners appear to be sleepwalking through this game. Maybe it’s that point in the spring, with most regular jobs already decided. Perhaps it’s the competition. But everybody looks a little sluggish out there. From the Seager error, to Franklin Gutierrez somewhat lazily heaving the ball back in without much urgency as Adduci was gunning it for third base, I haven’t been too impressed so far. Might be if the Mariners could manage a baserunner, but we’ll just have to wait on that, it would appear.

1:50 p.m.: Tough to tell which pitcher is having the tougher day: Felix Hernandez over on the other field pitching in a Class A game, or Blake Beavan over here facing a Texas Rangers farm team. Beavan has retired all nine batters he faced, dropping a nice curve in on Lewis Brinson to end the third. Of the nine outs recorded, five have come on grounders, the other a strikeout, two on well-hit balls to the outfield and one was a soft liner to the shortstop.

Tough to get a read on this because, it bears repeating, Beavan isn’t exactly facing the “A” team here. Or even the “C” team. What worries me is that the Mariners have yet to get a baserunner either. Scoreless as we enter the fourth.

1:40 p.m.: Blake Beavan has done a pretty good job of keeping the ball down today and has retired all six batters faced. Four of the outs have come on ground balls, which is encouraging for him. He did, however, make a couple of mistakes and nearly paid for it.

Jim Adduci took him to the warning track in deep left before Raul Ibanez hauled the ball in during the first inning. And Konrad Schmidt got his bat on the ball pretty good in the second inning and lined it to right center, where it was caught by Jason Bay. Some better hitters than those two might have done more with the pitches, especially the one Adduci hit. Mariners catcher Kelly Shoppach went out and spoke to Beavan briefly after that flyball and he got his pitches lower after that.

The Mariners have gone six up, six down against Michael Kirkman. Still scoreless after two.

11:26 a.m.: These aren’t your one-year-old twin’s Texas Rangers showing up here today to face the Mariners and starting pitcher Blake Beavan. In fact, the Rangers appear to be taking this whole “hide your regulars so you don’t over-expose them too soon” thing a bit too seriously. I mean, sure, the Mariners have Felix Hernandez throwing a minor league game today for Class A High Desert at 1 p.m. PT so that the Rangers don’t see him right before they face each other in the regular season.

But, well, MLB rules do require that a certain number of actual players show up for road games. Today, Beavan will face Lance Berkman and, um…well, I’m partial to Jeff Baker for obvious reasons even though he can’t spell his first name.

Seriously, though, this Rangers lineup is a joke. Not sure what we’re going to be able to tell about Beavan based off his results today. So, unless he gets creamed by these guys, we’ll have to look at stuff well beyond his stats.

Franklin Gutierrez is back in there as manager Eric Wedge promised us he would be yesterday. Gutierrez has missed a week, so he has to start playing regularly and get his timing down.

0 Comments | More in Cactus League | Topics: blake beavan; franklin gutierrez; lance berkman; rotation

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