Mariners 3, Diamondbacks 0 at Salt River Fields
After struggling through his previous outing where he had minimal command of his fastball and gave up six runs on nine hits in three innings pitched, right-hander Chris Flexen delivered his best performance of the spring vs. the Diamondbacks in a 3-0 shutout . Making his fourth start Cactus League start, Flexen displayed the desired fastball command to make his three offspeed pitches much more effective. It kept Diamondbacks’ hitters off balance and settling for weak contact.
“It was there for me,” Flexen said of his fastball location. “And that’s when I’m at my best.”
Though there are still improvements needed.
“I’m hoping the fastball has a little more velocity in it,” he said. “As far as command and sharpness, I felt really good tonight. It was definitely very close to where I was at last year.”
He pitched five shutout innings, allowing just three hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
The Mariners crushed baseballs all night, including nine balls in play that had exit velocities of more than 98 mph off of Arizona starter Merrill Kelly. But it didn’t result in many runs. Seattle scored a run in the first when Dylan Moore missed a homer by a few, settling for a RBI double that scored Mitch Haniger.
Seattle tacked on another run in the seventh when Sam Haggerty doubled and scored on Dillon Thomas rocket line drive double to right field.
Jarred Kelenic manufactured a run in the eighth inning. He took a walk, made an aggressive read on Sam Travis’ blooper to right to and went from first to third on the hit. It induced a throw that got by Arizona’s third baseman, allowing Kelenic to score.
Player of the game
Obviously, Flexen earned the honors. He threw 69 pitches with 48 for strikes, including nine swings and misses. His fastball topped out at 93 mph and averaged around 92 mph. He only allowed two batters to put balls in play with exit velocities over 100 mph.
“He was using all of his pitches and had all of them going. He had a good cutter, a lot of life on the fastball, the changeup was probably the best changeup he’s had since we’ve seen him and he mixes in that curveball. It’s the combination of all four that really makes him good, so I just liked his presence tonight.” — Scott Servais on Flexen.
The Mariners return to the Peoria Sports Complex on Wednesday to host the Chicago Cubs. Right-hander Justin Dunn will get the start for Seattle with right-hander Kendall Graveman and lefties Anthony Misiewicz and Aaron Fletcher scheduled to pitch. Chicago will start right-hander Zach Davies. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. The game will be televised on ROOT Sports and will have a live radio broadcast on ESPN 710-AM and mariners.com