Actor/comedian Will Ferrell had an uneventful second inning with the Mariners Thursday on the second stop of his 10-position, 10-team tour of the Cactus League. After beginning the day as the starting shortstop for the Oakland A’s, Ferrell moved to second base for the Mariners. No balls came Ferrell’s way, but he participated in some around-the-horn action following a putout.
Following his single inning at second, Ferrell joined the Mariners in their dugout for a few minutes before departing Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, AZ., for Tempe’s Diablo Stadium, where the Angels and Cubs were playing.
Ferrell’s appearance is part of an upcoming HBO special. He will participate in five spring training games, playing a different position for 10 clubs. His stunt in aimed at honoring Bert Campaneris, who played all nine positions in a game for the Kansas City Athletics in 1965, while raising funds for organizations committed to fighting cancer.
Athletics walk-off Mariners
Ferrell was long gone by the time the Athletics rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth and defeated Seattle 4-3 Thursday. The Mariners led 3-1 when reliever Mark Lowe allowed a pair of runs before Oakland’s Kent Matthes delivered a walk-off single off LHP Paul Fry.
Seattle’s Jordan Pries had a solid start, allowing one run on one hit in three innings. LHP Tyler Olson contributed two perfect innings. Olson has not permitted a base runner in his five spring innings.
After falling behind 1-0, the Mariners jumped ahead 2-1 with a pair of runs in the top of the third. Austin Jackson tripled and scored on a Justin Ruggiano single. Nelson Cruz added a sacrifice fly. Jesus Montero added an RBI single, giving Seattle a 3-1 lead.
The Mariners (4-6) play the Milwaukee Brewers Friday at Peoria Stadium. Left-hander J.A. Happ is scheduled to make his second start against Brewers RHP Mike Fiers.
2015 win projections
No one knows how the 2015 major league season will play out, but that hasn’t stopped the analysts at Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs from issuing projections. Both have determined the Mariners will become a playoff team and both predict the same number of wins: 87. That’s the total Seattle won last year when t barely missed a postseason berth, not done since 2001.
Baseball Prospectus’ 2015 standings have the Mariners slotted as a wild card, finishing three wins behind the L.A. Angels’ projected total of 90. The only other American League team with as many as 87 wins: the Boston Red Sox.
Baseball Prospectus figures the AL West will end like this: Angels 90-72; Mariners 87-75; Athletics 84-78; Rangers 80-82; Astros 77-85.
FanGraphs not only has the Mariners winning the AL West with 87 wins, but posting the best record in the American League with that total. Its top teams in 2015: Nationals 93-69; Dodgers 91-71; Cardinals 87-75; Mariners 87-75; Red Sox 86-76; Angels 86-76.
FanGraphs picks the AL West slightly differently than Baseball Prospectus. In addition to choosing the Mariners over the Angels, it figures the Astros will wind up ahead of the Rangers, likely to be without ace Yu Darvish, probably facing season-ending surgery.
The Mariners have 11 home runs this spring by 10 players. SS Brad Miller leads with two . . . The Mariners lead the Cactus League with 10 stolen bases . . . The roster is currently at 62 players . . . Starter Hisashi Iwakuma threw a simulated game Thursday rather than pitch against the Athletics. Felix Hernandez will throw a simulated game Sunday rather than pitch against the Dodgers. Seattle meets both Oakland and Los Angeles during its first road trip of the regular season and manager Lloyd McClendon doesn’t want the A’s or Dodgers to get extra looks at two of his best pitchers . . . OF Ricky Weeks was pulled out of Seattle’s lineup Wednesday and held out of Thursday’s game after experiencing tightness in his right hamstring. The issue is believed to be minor.
MLB.com columnist Tracy Ringolsby is bullish about Seattle’s chances, saying “Things are different with the Mariners.”
Forbes reports that Robinson Cano led the Mariners to $20 million worth of cable TV profits last season, nearly enough to cover the first year of Cano’s 10-year, $240 million contract.
Typical Jack Z. move. Sign a player then immediately waive him. :p