Drayer: Justus Sheffield strong again, Haniger HRs as Mariners beat Brewers
Mar 1, 2019, 4:45 PM
PEORIA, Ariz. – Justus Sheffield turned in a strong performance for his second straight outing for the Mariners, pitching two quick innings against the Brewers on just 21 pitches in Friday’s 7-3 Cactus League win.
Like in his first outing against the Rockies, Sheffield was in attack mode, working quickly and going straight after hitters. It is a mentality the Mariners have asked for from all of their young pitchers and one that Sheffield believes he has benefited him.
“Continue to attack, that has been the motto over here,” Sheffield said. “In the past I have been known to try and make the perfect pitch, which then I would fall behind in the count. I am just looking at every count as 0-0 and wanting to go after guys and stay ahead. Stay in attack, stay ahead.”
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While command was not an issue for Sheffield on Friday, Mariners manager Scott Servais wants him to trust that the gains from this mentality will outweigh the occasional miss.
“They have good stuff, let it eat, let it go,” said Servais. “We will deal with the not (trying) to be perfect with your command all the time, but trust your stuff. And when you have that kind of ability, why not?”
Like in his first outing, Sheffield got swings and misses with his work-in-progress pitch, the changeup.
The Mariners would still like to see him take a little bit more off of the pitch to get better separation from his fastball velocity, but there is little question the pitch is coming along well.
While Sheffield was the star of the game on the pitching side, there were numerous highlights provided by the offense. Mitch Haniger and Domingo Santana homered, Jay Bruce (playing first base) went 3 for 3, and Dee Gordon took two walks and stole a base.
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Those weren’t the only highlights of the day, however.
Before the Brewers game, the Mariners played a B game against the NC Dinos of the Korean Baseball Organization. Wade LeBlanc got his work in throwing three scoreless innings, allowing three hits while striking out one and giving up no walks. Ryon Healy hit a laser shot of a home run to left field, and Kyle Lewis hit his third homer of the spring as well.
Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez were not in the starting lineup, but as the youngest members of the team served as the bat and ball boys until they came in as defensive replacements in the sixth inning. In Rodriguez’s first at-bat, he was robbed of a hit up the middle on a 3-2 count on a diving play by the Dinos’ second baseman, then walked in his second plate appearance. Kelenic hit a single to right in his first at-bat and then was picked off first. As for his second at bat:
Kelenic triple. pic.twitter.com/HCa4gSGpCo
— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) March 1, 2019
“It was great,” said Servais of the B game. “It was fun to watch. I thought Kelenic played awesome, Julio does what Julio does. It’s fun to watch some of those kids, the excitement that they have, the energy they have. They want to show what they can do and they have a lot of ability.”
On Saturday, the Mariners hit the road for Surprise and a game against the Royals, with Yusei Kikuchi scheduled to make his second start.