Sunday’s Game 21 recap: Mariners 4, Rangers 3
Player of the Game: Kendrys Morales (pictured) supplied the big pop again, ripping his second home run in the past two days. And this one was a game-winner, a two-run shot that gave Seattle its 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth. Morales is batting .368 with four home runs and eight RBIs, definitely a good sign for a guy acquired to help boost the Mariners offense.
Stat of the Game: It was bombs away, again, for a Mariners team that slugged two more homers and now has 43 on the spring, just eight shy of the club’s Cactus League record. Morales and Raul Ibanez did the damage Sunday, their two-run shots accounting for all the scoring. The Mariners had 51 homers in 32 spring games in ’99 and 47 in ’08. They’re already third all-time with this year’s 43 … with 11 games still to go.
Storyline: While the Rangers didn’t bring a loaded team, having just one regular starter — Lance Berkman — in their split-squad lineup, Blake Beavan looked impressive with six innings of one-run ball and just three hits with no walks. Beavan is certainly doing everything he can to show he deserves to be in the rotation, but the Mariners are going to face some interesting decisions there in the next two weeks.
Worth noting: Dustin Ackley batted eighth for the first time this spring, an interesting spot for a guy supposedly destined to hit in the top three spots. But manager Eric Wedge said afterward that Ackley could well wind up down in that area during the regular season given the addition of the middle-of-the-order veterans and improvement of some of the young core players. Franklin Gutierrez appears the front-runner for the leadoff spot if he stays healthy and Kyle Seager is a strong No. 2 candidate.
Quote of the Day: “These guys are pretty good. They swing the bat a lot. You’ve just got
to make good pitches. I don’t think it’s a different mentality. I just throw my pitches. But they’re way more aggressive than big leaguers. They swing at everything.”— Felix Hernandez after giving up one run on three hits in four innings in a Minor League game against Class-A hitters.
Next: Hisashi Iwakuma gets the start Monday in a 1:05 p.m. Cactus League game against the A’s at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Iwakuma has looked very strong this spring and is clearly the No. 2 pitcher right now behind Hernandez.
Here’s is the link to today’s boxscore.
Here’s a full story on today’s game.
And here’s my notebook with all today’s news from camp.