Spring Training Update – Day 39
Day 39 / Monday, April 2, 2012 / 11 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 13 vs. Oakland)
For the second day in a row it was 71° and sunny at game time with not a cloud in the sky.
Tweet of the Day:
Last contest for 2 tix to @Mariners Home Opener. Whoever sends the best Mohawk pic wins. No faux pas. Trust me I can tell!
— Brandon League (@BrandonLeague43) April 2, 2012
Infielder Munenori Kawasaki certainly has his motor running at full speed. Over his last four Cactus League games he is batting .667 (10×15) with three 3-hit games. Before the recent tear, Mune was already hitting a robust .320, but now has his average up to .450 this spring. Entering the day, he was third in the Cactus League with a .417 batting average behind only Texas’ Michael Young (.423) and Oakland’s Colin Cowgill (.419).
Mune has certainly opened some eyes this spring and has been a constant source of energy for the ball club. While the team was in Japan, bench coach Robby Thompson had this to say about him:
“He has done a lot of good things for us, he’s full of energy and has passion for the game. He’s a great teammate, all of us love the guy and he’s brought a lot of life to this club.”
Felix Hernandez made his fifth and final start of the spring and tossed 4.0 shutout innings while allowing just two hits, striking out six, and throwing 57 pitches, 37 for strikes. Hernandez is scheduled to pitch the second game of the series on Saturday in Oakland.
The Mariners took an early 1-0 lead in the third inning after Munenori Kawasaki led off with a double and two outs later he came around to score on an Ichiro double to right-center. In the fourth, Seattle scored three unearned off of Moyer after Jesus Montero reached on an error leading off, and with two outs Alex Liddi singled, Kawasaki followed with an RBI single, Chone Figgins singled to left for another run. Brendan Ryan then added a run with a single to left.
The Rockies scored a single run in the fifth before the Mariners countered in the sixth with two more runs. Kawasaki led off with his third hit of the game, was erased on second on a Figgins fielders choice. Following a Ryan single and an Ichiro walk to load the bases, Justin Smoak singled to left to score Figgins and Montero brought in a run when he was hit by a pitch. Montero left the game in the sixth inning after being hit in the head by a pitch from Rockies reliever Edgmer Escalona.
Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma tossed 3.0 innings and allowed just one hit, a solo home run to catcher Wilin Rosario seventh inning (allowed an unearned run in the fifth). Right-hander Shawn Kelley tossed two scoreless innings to close out the game.
Johnny All Staff:
As you may already know, tomorrow’s game against the Rockies at Salt River Field at Talking Stick will feature plenty of arms for the Mariners, but the question all day has been, who is starting?
That would be right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, the 21-year-old who came in wide-eyed and earned a spot on the Mariners 28-man Japan Opening Day roster. In Cactus League play, Erasmo is 1-0, 1.29 ERA (1 ER, 7.0 IP) but he has also pitched in two intrasquad games (Feb. 24 & 29), 3.0 shutout innings a minor league game against Kansas City (March 20) and a shutout inning on March 25 against the Hanshin Tigers in Japan.
Seattle is 15-8-1 with 2 games remaining after winning today. It’s the second consecutive spring with a winning record (16-13-2 in 2011), and the 12th spring overall with a .500 or better record (2011, 2004, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1994, 1993, 1991, 1989, 1988, 1984).