Friday’s Game 19 recap: Mariners 2, Rockies 2
Player of the Game: Shortstop Brad Miller went 2-for-2 with a triple, a walk and a run scored and also turned in a defensive gem to continue his strong play this spring. Miller gloved a hard-hit ball behind the bag at second on a hard shot by Michael Cuddyer in the fourth, then flipped a backhand toss to second base to start a double play that helped Felix Hernandez out. Miller is now hitting .407 this spring with eight runs, seven RBIs and a team-leading three homers.
Stat of the Game: Felix Hernandez needed just 41 pitches to get through four innings of work, so he went to the bullpen to throw another 24 in order to get his pitch count up to 65 as he continues prepping for his club-record seventh Opening Day start. He’ll have two more spring outings before facing the Angels on March 31 in Anaheim.
Storyline: Hernandez and Erasmo Ramirez both got in four innings as both continued stretching out for starting roles. Ramirez pitched in relief, but he’s definitely square in the mix for a rotation berth after allowing one run on four hits, putting his spring ERA at 1.42.
Worth noting: Right fielder Stefen Romero hit his second homer of the spring and continues his recent surge at the plate as he’s making a case for being included somewhere on the final roster. Romero swings a needed right-handed bat and has caught fire after an 0-for-16 start to the spring. He’s since hit .474 (9-for-19) with two doubles, two triples, two home runs and four RBIs. Romero, who also made a nice catch on a deep fly ball to right, could be even more critical if Corey Hart continues struggling. He went 0-for-3 on Friday and is hitting. 095.
Quote of the Day: “I told Jesus he did an extremely good job for us in camp,” said manager Lloyd McClendon. “He worked his tail off. He just had so far to go, particularly coming in so heavy. But he made tremendous strides. He probably made the biggest strides of anybody in camp. But he’s only half way there. He has to continue to work and continue to do what he’s doing to get himself back to the big leagues.” – Manager Lloyd McClendon on the decision to send Jesus Montero down to Minor League camp as one of four cuts on Friday.
Next: James Paxton gets his fourth start of the spring on Saturday as the Mariners host the Giants in a 1:05 p.m. PT game at Peoria Stadium. The 25-year-old lefty is in excellent shape to solidify a spot in Seattle’s rotation as he’s allowed just one run on seven hits with no walks and four strikeouts over nine innings so far in Cactus League play. The game will be televised live on ROOT Sports TV and MLB.TV.
Here’s today’s boxscore.
Here’s a story I wrote on veteran right-hander Scott Baker and his thoughts on the Mariners pitching staff and his own return from Tommy John surgery.
And here’s my notebook with all the news of the day from camp.