Notebook: Mariners impressed by performances of Felix Hernandez, Drew Smyly in WBC
PEORIA, Ariz. – Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. watched two of his five starters square off against each other in United States-Venezuela World Baseball Classic matchup from a table at Famous Dave’s BBQ on Wednesday night.
“I was glued in,” he said. “I was happy. Papa was happy.”
Felix Hernandez went five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits, while Drew Smyly threw 4 2/3 innings, striking out eight in Team USA’s 4-2 win.
“Last night’s game was good,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “I couldn’t be any happier with the way they threw or how they went about it.
“It’s kind of weird to watch a game and walk away feeling good about both starting pitchers and having both in Mariners uniforms shortly.”
When they will be back in uniform for the M’s remains to be seen. Venezuela plays the Dominican Republic Thursday night, and although the plan was for Smyly to pitch just one WBC game and then return, it is unclear if that will remain the case. While the Mariners would obviously prefer that both pitchers get their next starts in Mariners uniforms, the work they put in for their countries was good work.
“The thing that impressed me with Felix, he took some of the things we were talking about – pitching four-seamers at the top of the zone, got that big double play ball on his curveball which we have been talking about, got his sinker in. He was throwing strikes in good counts,” Stottlemyre said.
The velocity was also good, with Felix sitting at 91-92 mph with both fastballs and even touching 94 once.
“Both turned the dial up,” Stottlemyre said. “Smyly (was) up to 95 on his fastball, swing-and-miss curve, some good changeups and cutters. They put it together last night.”
Both Stottlemyre and Servais said they appreciated how Team USA and Venezuela used their pitchers Wednesday night, getting their up-downs and not sending them out for any extra innings. Both pitchers remain on schedule for the start of the regular season with, perhaps, a little extra.
“Just having to execute through those lineups, that’s not your typical spring training lineup,” Servais pointed out. “Seeing them have success there should put them in a good spot.”
Mariners lineup vs Kansas City
Jarrod Dyson, CF
Taylor Motter, SS
Mitch Haniger, RF
Daniel Vogelbach, 1B
Tyler O’Neill, LF
Boog Powell, DH
Tuffy Gosewisch, C
Tyler Smith, 2B
Mike Freeman, 3B
Chase De Jong, P
• Mariners pitchers have given up just 48 walks this spring, second only to the Orioles for the least in baseball.
• The Mariners have stolen 29 bases, the most by any team in spring training. Seattle base runners have been caught stealing just four times.