Sunday’s Game 21 recap: Mariners 5, Giants 3
Player of the Game: Left-hander Roenis Elias threw five strong innings in his first Cactus League start, allowing just two hits and one run with two walks and two strikeouts against a pretty good Angels lineup. The 25-year-old Cuban defector caught the Mariners attention with a strong camp and now seems to at least be pushing his way into the conversation about potential starters to break camp, given injuries to Hisashi Iwakuma, Taijuan Walker and Brandon Maurer have thinned that competition.
Stat of the Game: The biggest concern with Elias has been his penchant to walk too many batters in the Minors, but he needed just 63 pitches in an efficient outing Sunday as he walked just two batters and kept the game moving at a good pace.
Storyline: Elias wasn’t even scheduled to pitch in this game originally, but the Mariners moved Scott Baker into a Minor League game to avoid facing the Angels for a third time this spring. The move also opened an opportunity to see Elias against a quality opponent and he came through well. Seattle’s offense also fared well against tough Angels lefty C.J. Wilson, putting up four runs (two earned) on six hits in five-plus innings and coming right out of the gates with four singles and a pair of runs in the first.
Worth noting: Much of the spring focus has been on young outfield prospects Abraham Almonte, Stefen Romero, James Jones and Xavier Avery, but Michael Saunders has quietly gone about his business with a very productive spring. Saunders went 2-for-2 with an RBI on Sunday, extending his hit streak to seven games and he’s driven in a team-leading 11 RBIs while batting .367.
Quote of the Day: “It could be. Why not?”– Elias when asked if he felt he had an opportunity to grab a rotation berth with the Mariners despite never pitching above Double-A ball.
Next: The Mariners have their first off day of the spring on Monday. They’ll be back in action Tuesday with veteran southpaw Randy Wolf on the mound for a 7:05 p.m. PT game against the Padres in Peoria. Wolf, 37, has allowed six runs on 10 hits – including four homers – in nine innings over three previous starts as he attempts to land a rotation berth as a non-roster invitee. Second baseman Robinson Cano again will not play as he’ll be returning Tuesday from a trip to the Dominican to deal with a personal issue and won’t be in the lineup until Wednesday.
Here’s today’s boxscore.
Here’s my story on Elias and his motivation to make the Majors after fleeing Cuba four years ago.
Here’s my story on Taijuan Walker’s throwing session this morning, which was good news for the club’s premier prospect.
Here’s today’s notebook with other news from camp.
And here’s video highlights of Elias’ outing today.