Seattle Mariners: As WBC Winds Down Players Return
As the WBC heads into its semi-finals matchups, the Mariners will see the majority of their players return to spring training with about two weeks left before they open the season on April 4th in Houston against the Astros.
When Team USA qualified for the 2nd round, Mariners fans knew that 12 of their players would be participating in the WBC. Now that the tournament is down to its final four teams, only skilled minor leaguer, Emilio Pagan, and Mariners star closer, Edwin Diaz (both on Team Puerto Rico) remain in the contest.
In round one, the M’s, Tyler O’Neill, Sam Gaviglio, and Yovani Gallardo did little to help teams Canada, Mexico, and Italy respectively to have any chance of moving onto round two.
O’Neill went 1-11 with 1 BB and 5 K’s, Gaviglio went 4.2 innings and allowed two runs, two walks, and one strikeout, and Gallardo went four innings, allowed the same number of runs, three home runs, but did strikeout five.
By round two, the Mariners saw the big bats of Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz each homer in the three-game round robin with batting averages of .556 and .300 respectively.
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Round two also saw an epic battle of two M’s pitchers, Drew Smyly and Felix Hernandez. Hernandez had the upper-hand against his new teammate when it came to the length of his outing (five innings compared to 4.2) and runs allowed (zero to one). Smyly had the upper-hand when it came to strikeouts (eight to three). Both allowed three hits.
While round two clearly produced better results from the Mariners players than round one, this tournament, as exciting as it has been, is clearly a warm-up for the M’s players in preparation for the 2017 season.
As the semi-final round of the WBC begins today, the M’s players who didn’t make this far will start to head back to spring camp. With 10 players having now completed the WBC there is nothing left for those players but to get ready for 2017.
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Edwin Diaz will be back only a few days later, but now that the tournament is in its final stages, fans will start to see the full 2017 M’s roster come together. Now the only thing left to do is sit in anticipation for the M’s season to begin.