Jeff Samardzija was throwing BB's for the Cubs on Friday - absolutely midseason, 3-hit shutout, form.
Not talking my opinion. Talking fact. The Cubs' manager put on the headset, about the 4th inning, and he was giggling. "Wow, wow, wow. Jeff looks fantastic."
In that context, Dr. D was curious as to which Mariners hitters held up under the withering radation. Could Abraham Almonte cover the strike zone front and back -- could he get to a hot fastball, and could he hold up for a slider? Were the swings defensive? Or what?
As Earl said, "Nobody cares on April 5 whether you won a game in March." So, then ... who looked like they'd translate?!
The first trip through the lineup, Samardzija nuked everybody except Cano and Ackley (!) and we're thinking, uh-oh. But hey! Second trip through, different story...
Almonte, CF -- Rating = 3
First AB, pretty well overmatched. Struck out looking without getting the bat off his shoulder. A confused customer is a customer who does not buy.
Second AB, a defensive little fly out the other way. Third AB, an unconvincing single, but it was a single.
I don't say this is the gospel truth. Just talking about how they looked in this game.
Seager, 3B -- Rating = 7
Kyle is what he is. He had a normal game, for him, against a Cy Young righty. Samardzija of course pressed him onto the back foot, but he worked a walk, took a sac fly the other way.
Cano, 2B -- Rating = 10
This guy is going to require a very large box of Kleenex.
First AB, worked through various *@$# pitches, then got an offspeed diving out of the zone, did a Griffey hesitation, and COVERED!!! that ball, swatting it into RF for a casual single.
Is this guy a BETTER hitter than Edgar?!
Later, with the Cubs' manager on the headphones, he worked Samardzija for about 10 pitches :- ), finally taking a ball low and in, and trotting down the line.
The player-analyst in the booth was asked, "Who could the Mariners GET, to make you give in to Robinson Cano there?" The response: "Nobody. Unless it's Barry Bonds, it doesn't matter who's behind Cano. You don't give him a good pitch there. You deal with the guy in the box, and you worry about the on-deck batter later."
Hart, DH -- Rating = 0
There are K's, and then there are embarrassments. Hart is embarrassing himself right now. Samardzija, on one K, just fired a lazy fastball onto the black, and Hart was "a week and a half" behind it.
What is Hart, like 18 strikeouts in 36 AB's? It's understandable. But why isn't he getting those 9-AB minors games?