Do You See What a Metaphysical Can of Worms the Cactus League Is? Giants at Mariners
Brandon Maurer vs. Barry Zito, 7:05pm
What is it for, exactly? How much can you glean from watching a game in Arizona in March? I don’t hate baseball-in-Arizona – not at all. But why do we get pitchers prepared to throw in May in cold, damp Seattle by having them throw in warm, dry Arizona in March? It’s not without its advantages, of course, but this simulacrum does something to those ensnared in it. So accustomed to taking the field around mid-day, the M’s trundled on to a diamond already occupied by their own minor leaguers. Joe Saunders faced off against Tai Walker, and there were umpires and box scores and everything. Saunders doesn’t seem to be in any danger of being bumped out of the rotation, but Brandon Maurer soldiers on, simultaneously in and out of the running for rotation slot #5. Time slows down. A diminutive man is paid handsomely to continue his baseball-themed performance art in Florida, and we all applaud. Bonderman has always been at war with Garland. This is your brain on Cactus League. Any questions?
1: Saunders, CF
2: Gutierrez, DH
3: Morales, 1B
4: Morse, LF
5: Seager, 3B
6: Bay, RF
7: Shoppach, C
8: Miller, SS
9: Franklin, 2B
SP: Brandon Maurer
Today’s game (and the rest of the Cactus League starts) will be broadcast by the M’s radio network. No more delayed starts, and no more “I guess I’ll check out the A’s broadcast crew’ situations. Tonight’s game is also on live TV, so tune in and check out the prospect who’s leapfrogged some of his more heralded teammates this spring. Last year, it was Erasmo Ramirez, and this year it’s Maurer – some of that is age and experience (both Erasmo and Maurer had been in the minors for a few years), but some of it, honestly, has to do with Hultzen and Paxton stumbling a bit. To be fair, Hultzen was brilliant in yesterday’s AAA/AA game, but that’s not the kind of game we thought he’d be pitching in this spring after looking at his AA stats. The other way to look at it is that our expectations were so, so high for the “Big Three” that it’s noteworthy when a pitcher with more experience may get to the majors sooner. Expectations aren’t a bad thing, especially when you’re a Mariners fan and need something to look forward to, but I have to remind myself that Hultzen was drafted in June of 20 freaking 11.
Joe Saunders gave up 2R on 8H with 8Ks in 6IP which I think proves my point about this whole spring training malarkey.