Tuesday’s Game 30 recap: Royals 11, Mariners 6
Player of the Game: Franklin Gutierrez went 2-for-4 with a home run, double, a walk and three RBIs as he reminded everyone again what a healthy Guti can do for the Mariners. He’ll be in center again Wednesday as manager Eric Wedge looks to get him ready to roll on a regular basis. Here’s video of his home run.
Stat of the Game: Two more home runs for the Mariners — by Gutierrez and Michael Morse — raises the spring total to 54 in 30 games, extending the club record for a spring. Research by the Mariners shows only one MLB team with more homers in a spring since 2006, with the Royals hitting 56 in 36 games in ’09. Morse’s shot was a monster blast over the 40-foot-high batter’s eye in center field, a rare sight in Peoria Stadium. Here’s the must-see video of Morse’s bomb.
Storyline: This was Jeremy Bonderman’s final chance to show he’s a legitimate contender for a starting job and the 30-year-old ran into trouble with a seven-hit, six-run burst in the fifth inning. Bonderman has been improving all spring, but this one showed again why it’s tough for a guy who hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2010 and had Tommy John surgery just 10 months ago to build up to a starting role that quickly.
Worth noting: Manager Eric Wedge said the club is close to finalizing its rotation and if you read the tea leaves, it’s pretty easy to see Blake Beavan and Brandon Maurer getting the final two slots. Wedge mentioned trying to put players in positions to succeed and help the team “whether it be right away or at some point in time later this year.” I’m no mind reader, but that sounds like a pretty clear indication they’d like to see Bonderman accept a chance to pitch in Tacoma for a bit and build himself up. Whether Bonderman wants to do that remains to be seen, though he indicated early in spring he’d consider that kind of scenario if it was just for a short time to get something specific squared away.
Quote of the Day: “The fifth inning just unraveled a little on me. It isn’t the first time it’s ever happened, but it was definitely the wrong day to have it happen.” — Jeremy Bonderman.
Next: Not a bad pitching matchup Wednesday with Felix Hernandez facing the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw in a battle of former Cy Young winners at 1:05 p.m. at Peoria Stadium. It will be Hernandez’s last start of the spring in preparation for Opening Day on Monday in Oakland.
Here’s is the link to today’s boxscore.
Here’s my story on Raul Ibanez’s favorite Opening Day memories as he looks forward to starting his 18th season in the Majors.
And here’s video of Eric Wedge talking postgame today about Bonderman and more: