A tie? There's no tying in baseball. Well, there is in spring training baseball. The Mariners and Indians played 10 innings and called it good. It was a merciful end to a very long game that lacked pace and rhythm - that's pretty commonplace in spring training games.
On to some thoughts...
Michael Pineda made his third start this spring and gave up his first runs of the spring. He pitched three innings, allowing two runs on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts. His fastball location was just off today. And when you throw 70 percent fastballs as Pineda often does, you are going to get hit and give up runs. Pineda threw 49 pitches and just 27 were strikes.
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Manager Eric Wedge mentioned that Pineda was leaving the ball up in the zone. So while he the fastball was hitting up to 97 mph, it was also getting hit by Indians hitters because it was up.
"He rushed through some pitches and the ball elevated on him," Wedge said.
It was evident in the second inning. Pineda couldn't locate. He gave up a lead-off double to Travis Hafner, got two outs, and then gave up the double to Hannahan. Normally, Pineda works efficiently, but with Hafner on base he really slowed things down as he tried to regain his rhythm and mechanics. This happened a few times last season in Triple A.
But on a positive note, it was good that he recognized something was off and he tried to make in-game adjustments to fix it.
After giving up a solo homer to former Mariner Asdrubal Cabrera (traded for Eduardo Perez by Bill Bavasi) to start the third, Pineda didn't fall apart, he reached back and struck out Shin Soo-Choo, got Austin Kearns to fly out and then struck out Travis Hafner.
“You're always looking to see how young players react to different outcomes, Wedge said. "I think he's done a heck of a job so far. The ball elevated a little on him, but he worked through it and finished strong in the end.”
Obviously, this outing won't determine whether Pineda makes the rotation out of spring training. But it serves as a reminder that he's far from a finished product, and expectations should be realistic for him, despite his vast talent.
Dustin Ackley made his third start and I was impressed with his improvement at second base. He's not as tentative or mechanical as he used to be. He doesn't look like a natural, but he looks comfortable and doesn't look lost. He looks good at the plate. He had an RBI single, took two walks and stole a base. He's a very good baserunner. Wedge certainly likes the progress.
“It's about getting reps at second base, reps on the basepaths and innings,” Wedge said. “He's only going to get better as a hitter and I think the focus right now is to continue to get acclimated at second base. You go out there and play, and different things happen each game and that's the beauty of it. You can't replicate a lot of what happens out there, so he has to play."
That being said, I still think he should start the season at Triple A Tacoma. He can play and get that experience without the pressure of trying to perform at the major league level. There is no reason to rush him.
Johermyn Chavez has a cannon for an arm. He showed it off, throwing a "seed" to third from right field and drawing oohs and ahhs from the fans in attendance. He also had an interesting day at the plate. He was hit by three pitches.
Alex Liddi hit another rocket today. This time it was a hard ground ball that ate up Jason McDonald at third and ruled a hit.
Matt Tuiasosopo had two hits including a double to center. Michael Saunders has changed his stance including his starting hand placement significantly, I plan on asking him about it tomorrow. It looks to be something designed to take some of the pre-pitch movement out of his swing and make it a little more compact.