SEATTLE MARINERS

Mariners Notebook: Digging into impressive showing vs Dodgers

Mar 13, 2024, 6:40 PM

Seattle Mariners Ty France...

Ty France of the Seattle Mariners hits during a 2024 spring training game. (John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

(John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

The lineup posted in the Seattle Mariners’ clubhouse Wednesday had the near look of a regular season lineup, with expected starters filling the top seven spots for the game against the Dodgers that afternoon.

Servais on Mariners’ singular focus: ‘Let’s win the West’

When the Dodgers sent over their lineup, there was a buzz as they ran out something very close to what should be their lineup when they open the season on March 20 in South Korea against the Padres.

While the Mariners are in the middle of spring games, the Dodgers and Padres started early due to their series abroad. Not exactly an even playing field, but in spring training, that doesn’t matter. It also doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun.

“Dodgers lineup?” Mariners manager Scott Servais was asked in his morning meeting with the media.

“You see their lineup?” Servais fired back. “Ohtani in it?”

Yeah.

Mookie?”

He is.

Freddie?”

Yep.

Yamamoto? Perfect! That’s exactly what we want. (Heck) yeah. It fires me up.”

Emphasis on the “fun” part. Nobody here needs to be reminded these are just spring training games. Still, it doesn’t hurt to have a challenge, and the Mariners responded with the pitchers holding Shohei Ohtani hitless in his three plate appearances (credit an assist to Mitch Haniger, as we’ll get to), and the hitters getting to the No. 1 free agent pitching acquisition of the offseason, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, an opponent they had never seen before.

“Really good game. I thought probably our best all around game all spring,” Servais said after the Mariners’ 8-1 win.

Seattle Mariners 8, Los Angeles Dodgers 1: Box score

The highlight for Servais was his offense making an adjustment to Yamamoto. Things didn’t look too promising with Yamamoto striking out J.P. Crawford, Julio Rodríguez and Jorge Polanco in the first inning. In fact, the only bit of “success” against the Dodgers’ new addition that the lineup had the first time through was a Ty France walk.

Second time around, a different story. A Crawford two-out single in the third seemed a small victory. In the fourth, however, the damage came with Polanco, Mitch Garver and Haniger all singling early in the count. France then hit a single to left that scored two and the Mariners were up and running.

When all was said and done, the Mariners scored four runs on eight hits off Yamamoto, with the top six hitters in the lineup all recording at least one hit against him. What was it the Mariners saw?

“His delivery is very unique,” Servais said. “Most of the Japanese pitchers are more deliberate over the rubber. He kind of rushes through it, he speeds you up. I think once our guys got a chance to see it, they made good adjustments.”

Later in the game, the offense came from the young set. In what was perhaps a bit of a preview for the Mariners’ Spring Breakout game on Friday afternoon that will pit their top prospects against the Padres’ top prospects, Servais replaced the starters due up in the top of the seventh inning with the trio of first-rounders from the 2023 MLB Draft and Lazaro Montes to follow.

The move did not disappoint, with Montes, the Mariners’ No. 4 ranked prospect according to MLB.com, knocking in Colt Emerson (No. 3 prospect) and Tai Peete (No. 7) with a triple to right.

On the pitching side, Casey Lawrence got a nod for the surprise start as he threw four scoreless innings, allowing four hits and no walks while striking out one. After Lawrence, a string of relievers who are either inked into the bullpen or battling for an open spot followed and held the Dodgers to just one run. A good day all around.

Seattle Mariners notes

• Haniger made a couple of good plays in right field, including a leaping catch at the wall to deny Ohtani a hit.

• Servais once again pointed to Tyson Miller as a reliever who is climbing up the ranks in the bullpen battle.

• A good to great sight? Andrés Muñoz’s velocity. Not the fastball, mind you, but the slider, which came in at 90 mph multiple times in his one inning of work. We did not see much of that last year.

• Bryan Woo was originally slated to start Wednesday’s game, but the Mariners had some maneuverability built into their starting schedule and elected to push him back a day to give him and others a break. Woo will now start Thursday against the Brewers, with Emerson Hancock following against the Angels on Friday, then Luis Castillo and George Kirby pitching in split-squad games Saturday.

Roster moves

The Mariners re-assigned five players to minor league camp:

• Left-handed pitcher Kirby Snead
• Catcher Harry Ford
• Infielders Tyler Locklear, Cole Tucker, Cole Young

More Seattle Mariners coverage

Gregory Santos has setback, but may have avoided worse injury
Mariners Notebook: Good developments with Gilbert, Urías
Ryne Stanek shares his take on going from rival Astros to M’s
Mariners officially sign Stanek, but Jackson Kowar out for year
Who five of the Seattle Mariners’ biggest X-factors for 2024 are

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