“Marco, wake up, man—you gotta pitch today… Yeah, the Dodgers, against Kershaw and Kyle’s brother. No pressure, man. Just don’t blow it!”
So, Andrew Moore-or-less killed it Friday, going two shut-out innings with three strikeouts. It was a bell ringing, a chance for the young pitcher to edge his way closer into that coveted role as 5th starter in the Mariner’s rotation.
However, the former All-American and 1st rounder, Marco Gonzales, answered.
“Marco, whatcha gonna throw? That change-up? That four-seam? Hey, Marco, show us that cutter!”
Marco looked like he paid his way through college as a painter, cutting-in his corners close. The 1st inning was a beauty, as Gonzales stayed ahead in every count and fanned two of the Dodgers’ star players, Chase Utley and Justin Turner.
“Marco! How’s your elbow feeling? No sleep’in man, no sleep’in. That forearm looks like metal, baby.”
The second inning opened with a pot-stirring start. Gonzales gave up a walk and you could tell he wasn’t too happy about it. The next at-bat he was able to force a ground-out and looked in charge again when he reset himself on the mound. The next two batters swung and missed, both chasing and looking—the baseball, dipping and dying.
At the end of his day, Marco saw Moore’s two scoreless innings and 3Ks, and raised him 2 scoreless innings, 4Ks.
“What did you do, Marco? How did you mix it? You mixed it good!”
Dipoto said it, Marco placed his curveballs early and stole some strikes with his cutter, a pitch he went without last season in order to protect his arm post Tommy John surgery. He also busted some wrists with his change-up, a pitch that looks like his fastball, but delivered 8 MPH slower. The kid looked good. Real good.
When asked if we just witnessed the real Marco Gonzales, he responded:
“I don’t know if I’ve seen the real me yet. I’ve been hindered the past couple years and haven’t been able to figure out what my potential is. I’m exploring, just like other people are trying to get to know me. Having a new elbow is something I’m excited about, because I haven’t had the chance to learn and develop at this level and be healthy at the same time. So I’m excited for what I can do.”
And, so are we.
Welcome to the Marco and Moore show—Spring Training is in it’s infancy, and we have miles to go, but already we’re seeing a lot of potential from our young guns, and a chance for one, if not both to steak a claim for a spot in the starting rotation.
For now, it’s your move, Andrew. Avoid those walks, aim to strikeout a side, and you’ll be giving Marco a run for his money.