FINAL: Mariners 4, Dodgers 4
Camelback Ranch, Glendale
That Chris Flexen struggled against Mookie Betts and Corey Seager on Thursday night is hardly an indictment of the Mariners’ new right-hander.
Betts and Seager will do that to many pitchers again this year.
The Dodgers have perhaps the best top of the lineup in baseball, and they showed that again against Flexen in his second start for the Mariners this spring.
Flexen plunked Betts in the left shoulder to lead off the bottom of the first inning, then left a changeup up in the zone that Seager — younger brother of the Mariners’ Kyle Seager — blasted for an opposite-field home run to left-center.
It did get better from there for Flexen, who completed three innings and didn’t allow any more runs. He had two competitive at-bats against Betts and Seager in the third inning; he wound up walking both of them, but managed to get the final two outs without further damage.
Flexen, who signed a two-year deal with the Mariners after pitching in Korea last year, is projected as a back-end starter in their six-man rotation.
Manager Scott Servais said before Thursday’s game he wanted to see more consistency out of Flexen’s secondary pitches, and Flexen said after his start that he was pleased with the development of all his pitches except his changeup — a pitch he’s still refining.
Injury note: Veteran left-hander Roenis Elias, a pleasant surprise out of the bullpen so far this spring, recorded one out in the fourth inning before leaving the game with a trainer.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jake Fraley is starting to make a delayed push for the left-field job.
The 25-year-old had opened spring in an 0-for-15 slump. He finally got his first hit Thursday night — it came on a well-struck ground-rule double to straightaway center field against reigning NL Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer.
In his next at-bat, Fraley belted an inside changeup from Dodgers’ reliever Nick Robertson out to right field for a three-run home run. The blast had a 106-mph exit velocity and measured 446 feet.
Defensively, Fraley had a nice running catch on the warning track in the second inning.
“The stuff is starting to sharpen up a little bit. It’s still pretty early and camp and I’m just continuing to build off outings and prepare for the season. I think we’re on the right track.” — Flexen
The Mariners return to Peoria to host the Reds for a 5:40 p.m. PT first pitch Friday. The game is scheduled to air on ROOT Sports and ESPN 710-AM.