Cactus League Game 6, Mariners at Giants

marc w · February 28, 2013 at 11:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Jon Garland vs. Matt Cain, 12:05

Yesterday, the M’s got a glimpse of their future, with Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker throwing four scoreless innings and drawing rave reviews from scouts (Walker more than Hultzen). Today, the M’s show their versatility by pairing the formerly steady, unspectacular Jon Garland with the human pitching machine known as Blake Beavan. When Garland was a healthy innings-eater, he used a low-90s four-seamer to get a lot of flyouts and pop-ups. From 2009 through his injury-marred 2011, he worked in a sinker, and reinvented himself a bit as a ground-ball guy, though he wasn’t healthy enough to see how that evolution played out. With all the talk of Beavan’s new arm-angle and his own increasing use of a sinking two-seam fastball, it appears the Texan may be attempting a similar transformation. Still, after the excitement of yesterday, this game feels a bit like a letdown. Ask a scout about Tai Walker, and you’ll get pages of rapturous text, analogies to the happiest moments in their lives, digressions on the nature of beauty, all on pages stained with tears of joy. Ask a scout about Blake Beavan, and he’ll hand you a blank sheet of beige paper.

The big story yesterday wasn’t so much Taijuan’s velocity, though the radio broadcast did mention he hit 98 and scouts said he worked at 96 with regularity, but his use of a cut fastball/slider that sat in the low-90s. Walker had mentioned that he’d picked up the pitch late in 2012, but obviously hadn’t had a chance to throw too many of them. That he did so against (mostly) MLB hitters yesterday was a good sign. Walker is the latest in a string of pitchers that ex-Jackson Pitching Coach Lance Painter’s taught to throw this pitch, and the latest who’s seemingly picked it up quite quickly. Andrew Carraway talked about it in our interview with him, and it seemingly helped Stephen Pryor get his career back on track after a disastrous half-year in High Desert. Painter’s moved to High Desert this year to be closer to home, and it’ll be interesting to see how the M’s view sending pitchers to that inhospitable environment. If Walker’s new cutter is any indication, Painter’s established himself as one of the most important members of the player development group.

Also today, lefty Brian Moran and his teasingly slow fastball should get some work, as should electric-armed righty Carter Capps. The parade of new pitchers throughout a game has to be a bit tough for hitters who play an entire game, but I can’t imagine facing Moran in the 5th and then Capps in your next AB in the 7th.

Today’s line-up:
1: Gutierrez, DH
2: Thames, LF
3: Wells, RF
4: Smoak, 1B
5: Montero, C
6: Morban, CF
7: Liddi, 3B
8: Franklin, 2B
9: Miller, SS
SP: Garland

His future with the M’s is uncertain, but Wells is certainly getting some opportunities this spring. It’s also good to see Nick Franklin and Brad Miller get a start against a really tough MLB pitcher in Cain. Julio Morban makes his first start, and his first in CF.

Once again, the radio broadcast will be tape delayed and played at 7pm, but the audio is live on gameday and at

Go M’s!


24 Responses to “Cactus League Game 6, Mariners at Giants”

  1. Mid80sRighty on February 28th, 2013 12:23 pm

    Nice first for Garland, three ground ball outs.

  2. marc w on February 28th, 2013 12:29 pm

    A home run off of Cain for Nick Franklin! Impressive.

  3. marc w on February 28th, 2013 12:30 pm

    Nick Franklin cares not a whit for your weirdly low HR/FB rate, Matt Cain.

  4. marc w on February 28th, 2013 12:33 pm

    Garland goes one scoreless, then gives way to Beavan.

  5. groundzero55 on February 28th, 2013 12:34 pm

    I assumed Garland would get more than one inning. Beavan time…

  6. Paul B on February 28th, 2013 12:35 pm

    Yeah, either something went wrong with him, or they are being careful with Garland. I think he threw like 8 pitches in the first.

    I’ll have to wait until tonight to hear the radio broadcast and find out, although I can go check twitter and see if someone has posted info.

  7. Paul B on February 28th, 2013 12:36 pm

    Now there is a baseball name, First Baseman Brandon Belt!

  8. marc w on February 28th, 2013 12:37 pm

    I’m listening to the Giants crew, as the M’s feed isn’t working for me. They haven’t said anything.

    Garland threw 21 pitches, so I’m guessing that’s about all the M’s wanted to see from a guy who hasn’t pitched since 2011. About the same for Bonderman.

  9. marc w on February 28th, 2013 1:10 pm

    Stop the presses: Beavan pitches pretty well, then gives up a looooong HR.

  10. jordan on February 28th, 2013 1:17 pm

    I know.. I know… spring training doesnt matter. but combine the end of last year and now the start of spring training and I’m getting slightly excited about Smoak. if he can be the stud we hoped for when we got him that would be huge.

  11. marc w on February 28th, 2013 1:25 pm

    I’ll say this: Beavan getting a lot of ground balls. It’s still February and all, but that’s good to see.

  12. Mid80sRighty on February 28th, 2013 1:29 pm

    If Smoak does turn into the “stud we hoped for” it would be unprecedented.

  13. marc w on February 28th, 2013 2:07 pm

    Mid80s –
    It’s fascinating to read Dave’s piece again, because in one respect, the M’s clearly did what Dave suggested: they went out and got themselves a good 1B. The problem is, they’ve also promised the job to Smoak, and made Morales the DH.

    I would love for Smoak to suddenly get it and destroy the AL this year, but it’s just not terribly likely.

  14. Mid80sRighty on February 28th, 2013 2:29 pm

    I agree, Marc. I remembered the general sentiment of the article, but it was pretty interesting to read it again.

    And hey, looks like the M’s are going to win their 6th in a row! I missed the last 4 innings, looks like Capps pitched pretty well? 3 K’s, no walks.

  15. Longgeorge1 on February 28th, 2013 2:29 pm

    Felix, Kuma,and Saunders. I think Erasamo is 4th. Who is 5th? Comments!

  16. Mid80sRighty on February 28th, 2013 2:34 pm

    Walker would be exciting, but my bet would be on Garland.

  17. MrZDevotee on February 28th, 2013 2:42 pm

    I’m guessing Garland and/or Bonderman at 5 and/or 4.

    I’d rather it be Hultzen or Maurer, or both, but I think the M’s will try to get something out of their minor investment in Bonderman and Garland if they can perform up to their previous abilities. And ride them till one or both get injured (likely, if even minorly) and then bring up the hottest of the kids to give them a taste.

    And I’m okay with that. I think there’s something to be said for playing your way up to that responsibility, instead of just handing the kids the keys to the car and saying “hit the gas, kid, and hold on” (which the young position players promptly hopped in and drove into the nearest tree last year).

    Pitching is the one position where I really do believe “veteran grittiness” has a value, both for wins and losses, and for the young guys to be around and soak up knowledge about specific batters’ and teams’ tendencies. Heck, even for learning how to recover from the minor aches and pains big league pitchers are dealing with 3-4 months into the season.

    All that said– they have to perform at least as well as the kids, for that to take place, or it’s not really worth anything.

    Go M’s. 6-0 in Cactus League!!

  18. Kazinski on February 28th, 2013 3:50 pm

    I think its Felix, Iwakuma, Saunders and Rameriz are locks 1-4 in the rotation, baring injury of course. The 5th slot will be between Garland/Beaven/Bonderman.

    I hope they all work out and the M’s can work a trade and get back something useful for one or two of them.

  19. Paul B on February 28th, 2013 3:51 pm

    I’d be encouraged if Smoak started hitting line drives. I don’t think he’s strong enough to get by as a pure fly ball hitter. And there were long stretches last year where I didn’t see him hit anything on a line. I guess I should go and look at his line drive percentage by month and see what happened last year.

  20. Paul B on February 28th, 2013 3:57 pm

    I’m back. Yup, last year Smoak had by far his highest LD% in September. And, not surprisingly, his lowest FB%. And September was certainly his best month, results wise.

    BTW, his GB% was pretty constant, highest was in May. But Sept was in the range of his other months. So he didn’t hit more liners because he hit fewer grounders, he hit them instead of so many fly balls.

  21. marc w on February 28th, 2013 4:01 pm

    I’d guess Beavan, just because it’s really, really hard to come back after injuries and being away from the game as long as Bonderland (Garman?) have been. It’d be a great story, but my Bayesian prior is that they’d go with the known entity.

  22. MrZDevotee on February 28th, 2013 4:25 pm

    Best Spring Training Story 2013 candidate:

    Elvis Andrus had to sit out today’s Rangers game because of sensitivity from a new tattoo.


    (Marc I forgot about Beavan… Poor guy, that’s kinda his story… I just have a nagging feeling Wedge wants more “grit/gray hair” guys on the pitching staff, ’cause Japanese guys don’t gray as much.)

  23. bsoly on February 28th, 2013 4:37 pm

    Is anyone else concerned at all about Ackley?
    Are they babying him so far because his heel isn’t fully healed?

  24. Paul B on February 28th, 2013 7:13 pm

    No one plays everyday in February.

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