Matt Brash, Mariners Hitters Flat in 5-3 Spring Training Loss to Cubs
Spring Training game number six for the Mariners offered a few highlights and lowlights. Although the scoreboard didn't break the M's way today, as they fell to the Cubs 5-3, you can't base success solely on wins and losses in Peoria.
Points of optimism included veteran Robbie Ray firing three sharp shutout innings with five strikeouts. Ray flashed his usual fastball-slider combination but threw his new split-change for strikes. It will be interesting to see how this pitch evolves throughout the spring.
Matt Brash had an outing to forget in relief of Ray, pitching 1/3 of an inning and giving up five runs. Control problems plagued the 24-year-old flamethrower and three bloop hits. Most people will point to the weak contact and those hits being of the lucky variety, but the takeaway is Brash couldn't land his off-speed pitches. The good news is it's still early in the Cactus League slate.
I'll admit it, I was in dreamland, enamored with the first two batters in the order leading up to the first pitch (Julio Rodriguez, Jarred Kelenic). So many people are hopping on the Kelenic bandwagon, rightfully so, after today's effort (2-3, HR). I want to see more of these two at the top of the lineup. If so, this team's depth problems become less pronounced.
Late-inning replacements offered some interesting moments led by Top 100 prospect, Harry Ford's ringing double in the eighth inning. Cooper Hummell also had a nice at-bat battling a tough lefty and going the other way for a solid base knock to start the rally. In the pitching department, Emerson Hancock flashed a fastball with late life and his plus-changeup to induce weak contact. His final line was 1 1/3 innings allowing a hit, walk, and one strikeout. It might not seem eye-opening, but this could create some momentum for the former first-round pick.
Plenty of good vibes coming out of this one, even in a loss.