Well, as I wrote during the game post, we were going to have to see what Blake Beavan and manager Eric Wedge thought about his outing today, since the quality of the hitters left plenty to be desired. We got our answer a short time ago: both were very pleased.
Beavan went six innings on just 61 pitches, then was told to throw another 19 in the bullpen to get his count up to 80 for the day.
But what was more important in today’s 4-3 comeback win by the Mariners over a minor-league laden Texas Rangers split-squad was the quality and consistency of the pitches Beavan was throwing. Both men felt it was Beavan’s best outing this spring from a consistency standpoint. And the curveball Beavan was throwing looked very sharp. We talked about it earlier when Beavan used it to notch a called strikeout on Lewis Brinson.
In the clubhouse afterwards, Beavan said he’s confident enough in his curve that it’s become an “out” pitch for him.
“I think the curveball is definitely an ‘out’ pitch for me,” he said. “I just feel like it’s getting better and better the more I throw it. And I’m starting to get more comfortable with throwing my curveball whether I’m behind in the count or ahead in the count. Also, when I try to strike guys out I’m using my curveball.”
Some mighty optimistic words, there.
Beavan also said his fastball was his best pitch today and that catcher Kelly Shoppach kept calling for him to use it again and again.
“I know as well as the next guy that if you’re fastball is on and you’re locating it, they’re not going to do much with it.”
Beavan says he wasn’t worried at all about results — feeling more comfortable with his revamped delivery.
“Results aren’t really looked at as far as spring training goes,” he said. “I think it’s more about repeating your delivery, keeping the ball down and mixing in all your pitches. Obviously, everybody wants to have good results in spring training. But if you’ve played in spring training enough and gone through the season it’s not the same thing. You try to accomplish what you can accomplish during spring training, get the bad ones out of the way and work on the good ones and get to the season and continue striving. That’s when you get into competing instead of worrying about working on pitches.”
We usually defer to the manager in cases like this because players are often their own biggest fan. But Wedge sounded pretty optimistic about Beavan and how he’s implemented his mechnical changes this spring.
“He had a great focus today and that’s what he does when he’s at his best,” Wedge said of Beavan. “He was in the zone all day today mentally and it carried over to him with reagrds to his performance. Particularly his fastball. I was really impressed with the way he spotted up his fastball. His secondary stuff worked off that well. He was very efficient. So, it was a good day for Blake.”
Wedge was asked how best to gauge Beavan’s outing given the lesser quality of the hitters he faced.
“You look at the location first and foremost,” Wedge said. “How the ball is coming out of his hand. The way it approaches home plate. So, that was good today.”
Wedge said Beavan has done a good job of using his 6-foot-7 height to generate more downward plane, something Beavan worked on all off-season. Now, Wedge added, “when he misses, his misses are better and he’s not going to get himself in trouble for the most part.”
As for the game itself, the Mariners got all the runs they needed courtesy of a pair of two-run homers. The first was from Raul Ibanez in the fourth inning to erase a 1-0 deficit. And then, after Kameron Loe gave up a pair in the eighth, Kendrys Morales got those right back in the bottom of the frame when he drilled a ball into the right field bullpen.
We saw Carter Capps work a 1-2-3 seventh for the Mariners with two strikeouts, which was encouraging because the Mariners are a little thin on the right side of their bullpen.
Loe has looked sharp for much of the spring but has some struggles getting pitches over today.
Danny Farquhar came on and retired the side in order in the ninth.
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