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Spring Training Observations from Rangers/Mariners

Spring Training Observations from Rangers/Mariners

The Rangers played their fourth spring training game in 2019 on Tuesday afternoon. On a gorgeous day in Peoria, Arizona, the club faced a familiar AL West foe, the Seattle Mariners. It wasn’t available on television in the Dallas area (TV broadcast was available in Seattle areas). It was the first time the Rangers were on a live television screen since September 30, 2018.  There were a few notable observations from this afternoon in Peoria that ended in a 4-4 tie between the two clubs.

Pitching

Rangers’ starter Adrian Sampson pitched a methodical first inning with a strikeout and a couple of hard-hit infield outs. The second inning was a struggle. After Jay Bruce grounded out, four of the next five Mariners reached, including two walks. Luke Farrell finished the second inning as the Mariners tallied a run on an infield single with the bases loaded. The run was charged to Sampson. Overall, Farrell pitched a good game in his inning plus work. Luke allowed a hard liner up the middle and a walk, but also struck out two Mariners.

Kyle Bird pitched a great two innings coming out of the bullpen. In his six hitters faced, Bird struck out one and attacked the Seattle Mariners hitters. Seattle was not able to get any good portion of the bat off of any of Bird’s pitches which adds confidence in attacking the zone and in throwing any pitch in any given count. Nick Gardenwine pitched a solid sixth inning. He did allow two hits but received assistance from his defense that prevented the Mariners from scoring a run and producing a big inning. Michael Tonkin had an incredibly easy seventh inning. Tonkin retired the side in less than ten pitches. Zac Curtis allowed one walk in his inning of work. Phillips Valdez allowed a walk and two monster blasts to Jake Fraley and Chris Mariscal in the bottom of the 9th inning to bring the game even.

Stand Out Starter

On this date, Nomar Mazara had a great afternoon. Nomar walked in the first against Marco Gonzales, hit a laser single to right field, and shot an opposite-field RBI double to left field. Going opposite field is something that the Rangers have preached to guys like Mazara, Joey Gallo, and Rougned Odor.  To watch Mazara go opposite on day four is fantastic. It is tough to assess pitchers and their pitch time to the plate this early on in the spring. It’s also difficult for a hitter to evaluate their own timing so they can make adjustments. Mazara got doubled off on the base paths during the fourth inning when Jeff Mathis flew out deep to right field. Mariners’ right fielder Mitch Hanniger made a strong throw as the Mariners turned two on a sacrifice fly.

Defense

The Rangers looked good defensively today. In the first inning, projected starting third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera caught a screamer off of Dee Gordon’s bat. Cabrera only played in twenty-two games last season at third base (he played 149 games in 2018 overall). Leody Taveras earned an assist in the sixth inning. Taveras came in to pinch run for Mazara in the top of the inning and then proceeded to throw out Eric Filia at third base. Taveras’ throw resembled a Mazara-like cannon to third to nab Filia. Overall, the Rangers’ defense did not commit an error today. There was a little miscommunication  as Kristopher Negron attempted to steal second in the 9th inning. Isiah Kiner-Falefa nearly threw the ball to a vacant second, but a nice recovery by Eli White prevented the error.

The Rangers started the game slow today. In the club’s first four games this spring, they have totaled only one run in the first three innings. However, it seemed like throughout the game today, the Rangers hitters were getting more contact, even on fouled pitches. One thing I noticed was that some of the Rangers baserunners were a bit fooled on a few Mariners’ pickoff moves. Texas did not have a runner picked off, but there were a few close calls, especially with Delino DeShields almost getting picked off twice against Gonzales. Spring training is still early, so the club should not worry about these negative trends. To sum up today’s game, it looks like things went positive in Peoria for the Ranger blue.

 

Credentialed Media Staff Writer covering the Texas Rangers for Dallas Sports Fanatic | 2014 University of North Texas graduate with a Bachelor's in Radio, Television, and Film. My baseball memory bank is dominated by the Texas Rangers with the other 29 franchises sprinkled in. In addition, I enjoy NFL Sunday afternoons and only the first NCAA tournament weekend.

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