Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 4/2/14
I'm going to spoil everything before we even begin. BRAD MILLER WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Proceed. The first lefty test. We've all known for a while that the Mariners were probably going to struggle against lefties given their stacked side, but the extent was always unknown. Smoak's had weird flip-flopping splits, Ackley was fine against them when he was good, and Cano hits everybody. While the lineup is lefty-heavy, there aren't many guys who fall apart against them like say, Andre Ethier would. I expected disaster tonight and came away thrilled, as the M's knocked off the Angels 8-3. Despite a two-run bomb to Raul Ibanez, Erasmo Ramirez flashed the potential that has always teased. His change was on point today, and his heat had plenty of movement to it. He always appeared in command on the mound, walked nobody, and generally seemed like the 2012 version of Ramirez. He made Ibanez look silly in the 6th on a pair of back-to-back swinging strikes, and his final change to strike out Kole Calhoun in the 7th was spectacular. Justin Smoak, hitting right-handed, managed to hit a single against the shift with two strikes. Given his struggles against RHP in the past, that's as positive of a sign as any. Sadly, he was immediately thrown out on a botched hit and run call that Kyle Seager appeared to flat out miss. I'm not a big fan of stealing bases to begin with, let alone sending somebody as slow as Smoak. The hit and run has a purpose, but using it when the guy is going to be meat unless it's executed perfectly is a bad idea. Let's hope we see less of that. Smoak didn't waste any time building on his night against C.J. Wilson, cracking a line drive into the gap that scored all three batters after Robinson Cano was intentionally walked. Imaging Smoak as a productive hitter anywhere in the lineup, let alone after Miller and Cano, is tantalizing. It's early. Don't overreact. But **** it, he looks good. I'm ready for this to be the greatest troll job by a Mariner of all time. Make us all look stupid, please. I'm begging you. Speaking of looking good, Ackley is still crushing line drives. All of the good signs from spring training and part of last year are seemingly carrying over so far, as Ackley's been able to go the other way, down the right field line, and into the gaps. Today's RBI double barely missed flying out of the park. The ball is just making a different sound off the bat, and his poise at the plate is remarkable. Stefen Romero came up hacking in his first major league PA, flying out to right. Don't expect to see a lot of walks from Romero this year, as he was a hacker in the minors and he'll likely be a hacker in the bigs.
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