After their return from Japan, the Mariners hosted the San Diego Padres for two final exhibition games at T-Mobile Park in preparation for the regular season opener Thursday.
And boy, if there is one way, to sum up how the Mariners played over the course of 18 innings: they didn’t score a run. Following an 8-0 blowout Monday night, Seattle followed up the embarrassment with a 1-0 loss Tuesday.
The Mariners offense was consistently bad, scrounging just 6 hits throughout the series in its entirety. But the real tale of two games was found in Seattle’s pitching.
Mike Leake was hit hard, to say the least. In his start Monday night, he allowed an exit velocity of at least 102.7 MPH off the bat five times in the first inning alone. Before Leake could muster three outs, the Padres led 6-0 on 5 hits, 4 of them going for extra bases.
Tuesday was another story. If there was ever a Spring Training gem, Wade Leblanc threw one — a 5.1 inning shutout that lasted just 46 pitches, 34 of them for strikes.
Aside from Leake’s rocky start Monday, the bullpen threw exceptionally well. In the 7.1 innings comprised of relievers over the course of the series, Seattle allowed just 2 earned runs and 5 hits while striking out 12.
The silver lining from the two losses is simple: the games don’t count. Seattle’s starters were pulled early in most cases, meaning fans should take the scoring drought with a grain of salt.
Promising stars in Seattle’s farm system made their T-Mobile Park debuts. Kyle Lewis and Evan White headlined the group of young talent making their way through the minor league level, as the two will begin their seasons in AA Arkansas and AAA Tacoma, respectively.
Despite the losses, the Mariners are 2-0 in games that count and open up the regular season stateside Thursday when they host the World-Champion Boston Red Sox.