Tuesday’s Game 30 recap: Rangers 5, Mariners 3
Player of the Game: Erasmo Ramirez completed a strong spring with five-plus innings of one-run ball and then was told by manager Lloyd McClendon that he’ll be the No. 2 starter behind Felix Hernandez when the Mariners open the regular season next week in Anaheim. The 23-year-old right-hander posted a 1.14 ERA in six Cactus League outings, wrapping things up by allowing just three hits with no walks and six strikeouts against the Rangers.
Stat of the Game: Dustin Ackley went 1-for-3, giving him hits in 20 of the 21 games he’s played this spring. The new left fielder has been remarkably consistent and is batting .406. he came into the game tied with Toronto’s Melky Cabrera for the most hits of any player this spring with 25 and also ranks among Cactus League Top 10 hitters in batting average, doubles, RBIs, total bases and slugging percentage.
Storyline: McClendon criticized Ramirez for not throwing quality strikes in favorable 0-2 and 1-2 counts in his last outing, saying he’d get lit up by good Major League hitters if he did that in the regular season. The youngster took that to heart and zipped through most of the Rangers’ regulars in the first time through the order before Texas went to its bench in its final Arizona game. Among his strikeout victims – Shin-Soo Choo, Adrian Beltre and Alex Rios.
Worth noting: McClendon again played Brad Miller at shortstop while putting Nick Franklin at second base in place of Robinson Cano (who was at DH), again proving with actions what he’s unwilling yet to say with words – that Miller has won the starting shortstop job. Miller went 1-for-2 with a walk and is hitting .439. Franklin was 2-for-4 with a double and his batting .265.
Quote of the Day: “Opportunities are there and somebody has to step up and get it done.” – McClendon on his young pitching staff in the wake of the release of veterans Scott Baker and Randy Wolf.
Next: The Mariners have a final off day for their Major League club on Thursday, but left-hander James Paxton will start a Minor League game at the Peoria Complex in his final tuneup before the regular season begins next week. Paxton appears to be lining up as the club’s third starter behind Felix Hernandez and Erasmo Ramirez and has posted a 3.18 ERA in five spring outings. The Mariners return to Cactus League play on Friday at 7:05 p.m. PT against the Rockies at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, with young southpaw Roenis Elias making his third start as he continues zeroing in on his own rotation berth. That game will be televised live on MLB.TV and ROOT Sports.
Here’s today’s boxscore.
Here’s my conversation with Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith on his thoughts on the upcoming season.
And here’s today’s notebook with the news of the day from camp.