Mariners Heart Of The Lineup Propels Team Past World Champion Cubs
By Adam Levi
Even with most of their star core lineup away from spring camp to participate in the World Baseball Classic, the young guns of the Mariners who are filling the spots in their absence were able to produce the same type of offensive firepower that we expect from Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, and Kyle Seager.
Less than a full day removed from a terrible 14-6 loss against the AL champion, Cleveland Indians, the Mariners replacement 3-6 of the lineup while the usuals are at the WBC, stepped up to help the team grind out an 8-6 victory this afternoon.
The Mariners entire lineup combined for 17 hits from 12 different players, but the four men who started in the heart of the lineup did most of the heavy lifting in today’s win.
Mitch Haniger, Danny Valencia, Mike Zunino, and Taylor Motter combined for eight M’s hits and four of the M’s runs today. Each player had two hits and one run scored, but Valencia and Zunino added one and two RBIs respectively.
It was Zunino who impressed the most. He blasted his third home run in four games and his second double in as many contests. He now has a batting average of .353 and a team second-best OPS of 1.581.
Zunino also added his third double of the spring season which is also second-best on the team tied with four other teammates including Haniger who doubled today as well.
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Aside from the great hitting from the Mariners 3-6, the M’s got a great start out of their number three starter, James Paxton.
Paxton rebounded from his shaky spring debut where he posted a line of 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, and 1 HR allowed. He did surrender another homer today, but that was his only blemish in his three innings of work and it was to Anthony Rizzo, so he’s allowed that type of mistake. He had a line of 3 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 HR, but 5 Ks.
It is a little troubling that Paxton has allowed two home runs in five innings over two starts. Last season he allowed a total of nine dingers. It just so happens that he also allowed homers in back-to-back games twice last season, so maybe Mariners fans can be reassured by this.
Next: Mike Zunino's Spring By The Numbers
The Mariners will face the Cubs again tomorrow at 12:10 PM PST to finish off back-to-back ball games.