SHANNON DRAYER

Notebook: Experience is good but Mariners looking for more from starting depth

Feb 21, 2018, 5:19 PM | Updated: Feb 22, 2018, 12:00 am
Ariel Miranda was a member of the Mariners' rotation in 2017 but is likely a depth piece in 2018. (...
Ariel Miranda was a member of the Mariners' rotation in 2017 but is likely a depth piece in 2018. (AP)
(AP)

PEORIA, Ariz. – At some point this season, the Mariners will have to go to their starting pitching depth – something the injury to Erasmo Ramirez before the season even started made clear.

Assuming Marco Gonzales, who is out of minor league options, grabs the fifth spot in the rotation, the top two depth starters would most likely be Ariel Miranda and Andrew Moore. While both had their ups and downs last year, they each gained valuable experience.

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Miranda pitched his first full big league season and Moore made his MLB debut in 2017, facing big league hitters for the first time. Valuable experience, but to survive at the big league level moving forward will take more than experience. On the Cactus League Report on Wednesday, I asked manager Scott Servais what steps toward improvement he would like to see Miranda and Moore take.

“With Andrew Moore it was the first time in his career he ever struggled,” Servais pointed out. “You find out a lot about people when they do struggle, when they face adversity, and can they bounce back. What adjustments do they make? He has looked very good this spring so far and there are a couple of adjustments our pitching group, Mel (Stottlemyre Jr.) and Jim Brower an Brian DeLunas have brought to his attention and he has addressed it and hopefully it continues and shows well on the field once the games start.”

And Miranda?

“Everybody knows what got him last year was the long ball,” said Servais. “He gave up a lot of home runs. That came from getting into bad counts. Miranda has got a good fastball but when they know it’s coming and it’s not located in a perfect spot, he is a fly ball pitcher. The results weren’t always great.

“I will say that he had some great outings for us. I think we lose sight of the fact that he had some really sold outings, but again the home run ball, what do we do to combat that? He’s got to use a little more secondary pitches and get command of those pitches so he can throw them in 2-2, 3-2 counts and not always rely on the fastball.”

It is an important spring for both pitchers. Both need to show growth and embrace the opportunity that spring training brings for necessary work.

“They have things to work on in camp,” said Servais. “That’s what spring is for. You are always trying things, you never know what’s going to click but the nice thing about our guys is they are very open, they want to learn, they want information. It’s up to us to give them the good info.”

Notes

• The Cactus League Report will continue to air on Wednesday nights as spring training begins. A couple of big changes this year, however. The show will not be airing from the Salty Senorita as it has in years past as the restaurant has closed. It will instead be broadcast from the booth in the stadium. Next week we will have a two-hour show airing from 7-9 p.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle. The remaining shows all come before night games and will be just one hour.

• Some interesting news from A’s beat reporter Susan Slusser.

The report has yet to be confirmed by either club or MLB but it appears we will have a rematch of the 2012 opening series between the Mariners and A’s at the Tokyo Dome. The teams split the two-game series with the Mariners winning Game 1 on a Dustin Ackley go-ahead RBI single in the 11th and dropping Game 2, getting 3-hit by Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour.

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Notebook: Experience is good but Mariners looking for more from starting depth