Eighteen home runs and counting

Mar 1, 2013, 4:22 PM | Updated: 4:22 pm

By Shannon Drayer

It just continues. Four more home runs by the Mariners today as they beat the Rangers 8-6 in Peoria.

I know it is spring but there are a few very positive things we are seeing that need to be pointed out. First, the home runs by Jason Bay and Michael Saunders today were opposite field and Bay and Michael Morse went deep in the count to get their home runs. In other words, it is not a matter of just running into bad pitching early.

They are doing this without the benefit of playing everyday. No one is in any kind of routine as of yet as Eric Wedge has been getting everyone in games early. I asked Bay about this and he said it is what you do this time of the year but it is great to see the production. It tells him that their timing is on early.

Another bright spot, Dustin Ackley checked in today. After not having much to show for the spring he came up with 2 hits on 3 solidly hit balls to center.

And we have to talk about Carlos Peguero who hit his third home run of the spring and made two stellar plays in left, one coming in a long way, making a slide and hanging on to a ball hit between left and short and another leaping grab against the wall. As I said in my previous post the production is great but the biggest thing Peguero needs to show is change. A better approach at the plate. Even more impressive than the home run to Wedge was the single he hit in the 5th inning.

“The breaking ball he hit the other way, that’s a great indicator,” said Wedge. “He is trying to be more under control and see the baseball. There is just so much power there and so much athleticism for a big guy, we saw that in the outfield today. He is off to a good start.”

In a crowded outfield, does he have a chance to make the team? It’s too early to be talking about that but Wedge did say that he is not counting anyone in this camp out.

Finally, the pitching. James Paxton had an okay outing showing good stuff but walking two batters and giving up a two run shot to Mitch Moreland. What happened after that is a great example of just how these guys are coming together.

While on the bench after the game Paxton felt a tap on his shoulder. It was Joe Saunders. Saunders wanted to know what he threw to Moreland. Paxton told him it was a fastball down and in and Saunders told him that in that situation, against a power hitting lefty he likes to throw a sinker.

“He was talking to me about how he likes to throw two seam fastballs inside to lefties because those power hitting lefties are looking for that fastball inside but when you throw that 2 seamer it will look like that fastball they want but once you get a little bit of that sink and run on them it will kind of tie them up and you will get that ground ball to the right side.”

It was an “aha moment” of sorts for Paxton who is used to being able to get minor league hitters out with his fastball. Different story up here, that is exactly where lefties like to see the ball. Lesson learned. He is looking forward to the opportunity to throw the sinker next time.

Let’s do this again tomorrow. Dodgers and Mariners on the radio at 12:05 from Peoria.

Date Starting Pitcher
Thursday, September 29 @ 6:40 pm

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Eighteen home runs and counting