Best Team in Baseball? I Think That's Been Settled
M's 3, Cubbies 2

Kyle Seager

Rich doesn't look good on everybody.  It does on this guy, though.  He's relaxing into his game, "bouncing" into the box to get his weight underside like he does when he's goin' good.  ... Clearing the arms before the pitch, skipping out of the way of WP's before they're halfway to home plate.

Has nothing against hitting with three men on base, each AB.  Good bet to have an UP year.

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Taijuan

Okay, if technical-type details are more your innerest ...

He threw simply every pitch, all 81 of them, intending to throw a strike.  He succeeded in this too.  56 of the pitches were strikes and only 25 were balls, way above the ML average.  He was running higher than that for a while - I think 42 balls and 16 strikes at one point.

Actually that's way too many, as a general rule of thumb.  The Cubbies were starting their swings as he let go, and holding up if the ball was wide.  Michael Pineda did the same thing as a rookie for a month or two.  James Paxton does this.  It's a mark of a young gun who knows he's got more than you want.

Pineda wound up getting hit because he had command.  If you throw the ball into a teacup, then 22 consecutive strikes pose an obvious problem.  

In this specific case, it's fine for Walker to aim for all strikes because --- > he does not have command.  They'll tell you he has fastball command, to which we can confidently reply, "Huh?"  Run the replay.  Watch the catcher's mitt.  We report, you decide.

When Taijuan does hit the mitt -- he did that roughly 18 to 20 times, in 80 attempts -- the ball is simply unhittable.  By "unhittable" we mean, refer to Mariano Rivera.  Twenty years on, they were still trying to hit it.  It wasn't blinkin' happenin'.

Many of those 18-20 times that Taijuan hit the mitt, it was with a jam pitch.  Hellacious!  His best command is inside.  Which, refer to the Zen article.  Fear is an involuntary reaction.  Three things are primal, grasshopper:  (1) the smell of eggs, (2) the aversion to English sports, and (3) being thrown at.

........

From a technical standpoint, his offspeed stuff was easily the weakest I've seen it.  It didn't matter.  Why not?  (I mean, beside the fact that a sailed Taijuan spikeball "plays up" after the heaters.)

He gets away with mushy splits under a certain condition.  He's ahead in the count so much.

He seems to be at the point here where, his B game is plenty good 'nuff and his A game ... well.

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Robinson Cano

Again came up, 1st inning -- one man on, one out.  Settled for a Ichi-ball over the shortstop's head.  You wonder whether his "situational awareness" is going to lead to a .330 average.  He and Nelson Cruz are best buds.

After 2014 in Safeco, Cano's "situational awareness" is no longer under debate.  There are only a few like this.  Carew, Ichiro, Jeter.  All of the 2001 Mariners, especially Bret Boone.  Your kitty.  And Robby Cano. 

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Mister 1.5 WAR

So first inning ... did I record the right game?  Or am I double-watching that other one?   it was 1B-and-3B, one out, and Nelson Cruz up to the plate again.  Walked on 5 pitches.  Again.  To load them up!  For Kyle Seager!

Mechanical first innings, babe.  This time, Seager ripped a hot shot to deep center.  1 run.  And the game was over.

Of course, a postseason blitz would be nothing new for the D.R. Mariners.  What was their run differential in the last WBC?  It was seriously 45-16 or something like that.  Bring on the Nationals.

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Bill Kreuger

Looks alarmed in the booth.  He starts ticking the Mariners off on his fingers and he gets disoriented, like he is unnerved by the situation.

Had a line that brought the house down:  "I never had a stretch in my career like Tyler Olson has just had."  I think Kreuger's great :- )

There was a time in world soccer, a few years ago, where Spain's second XI appeared to be the best team in the world.  Russia was like that in hockey in the 1980's.  The Mariners could literally lose 3-4 relievers in a plane crash and go right into a pennant race with their replacements.  

Call off the dogs, Jack.

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Brad Miller

Stopped hitting well the day Chris Taylor was injured.  Yes, we're paying attention, LrKrBoi29.  And don't get us started on the average length of Austin Jackson's BIPs Wednesday.  But he's got more hits than anybody!  ... which brings up the question, don't be so 1977.  Mancho Bernhardt hit .379 or something and then they came North.  Somebody turned off a giant spigot over the Kingdome roof.   Back then I couldn't figure out for the life of me how such a thing could happen.

Well, the weakest spots on the Big Red Machine were CF and SS.  They survived it.

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Mike Zunino

A week ago, Dr. D wondered if Zuumball was still in play despite the wide base and quickened stroke.  Since then, Zunino has hit about five homers totalling 5,280 feet, most to right-center.

He doesn't look different; he looks better.  That's what it says on my clipboard, anyway.  It's ten or fifteen games' worth, but that's the advance scouting.

Spring training is too long,

jemanji

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