The Brewers’ quiet bats were no match for a few good Mariner swings in Sunday afternoon’s contest. The Brewers’ pitching staff offered up otherwise solid performances but allowed three solo home runs, the only runs the Mariners produced on the day.
Freddy Peralta got the start and controlled some basepath traffic, allowing five hits and only one run, the first of Seattle’s solo home runs. Peralta is reportedly battling Josh Lindblom for a rotation spot to begin the season.
Freddy Peralta and Josh Lindblom have been pitching on the same day for some time now, alternating between the A game and B games or scrimmages. The Brewers are still deciding which one begins the regular season in the rotation -- but both will make starts during the year.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) March 21, 2021
Counsell said he hasn't told pitchers yet who will start after Woodruff and Burnes to open season. Sounds like they're deciding between Lindblom/Peralta for fifth spot, with both getting starts in any event. That would leave Houser and Anderson to be Nos. 3 and 4 or vice versa.— Tom (@Haudricourt) March 21, 2021
Sunday's performance should bolster his case. Along with his improved slider, Peralta showed some of the range and composure he’s developed. Sunday’s contest suggested a pitcher who’s matured beyond a solid bullpen piece or a starter who’s likely to either strike out double-digits or allow massive defensive innings. Peralta got into some long counts, put the ball on the ground, allowed some traffic on the basepaths, and pitched through small amounts of trouble with minimal damage through 4.2 innings. He allowed five hits, including the solo homer, gave up a walk, and struck out 5. His fastball and breaking pitches were, for the most part, showing up well for him, as they have been across his limited spring training appearances. Before today’s start, Peralta had pitched 3.2 innings across two games, allowed three hits and two walks, and struck out 10.
Both the Brewers and the Mariners opened the game with sun-assisted doubles. In the top of the first, Christian Yelich lost a fly ball in the high sky, which resulted in a double for Mariner Luis Torrens. Two batters later, Keston Hiura stranded Torrens with an unassisted groundout to end the Mariner first. Kolten Wong started the same inning with a double that would have otherwise been a flyout but instead got lost in the sun. Yelich later scored Wong on a sharp grounder to right.
To lead off the second inning, Mariner and Waukesha native Jarred Kelenic needed little help from the elements to hit a solo home run and tie the game. Freddy Peralta also gave up a double later in the inning but pitched through without succumbing to more trouble. Peralta made the best out of some Mariner contact in the third. He went three up, three down in the inning, allowing a single and inducing a lineout as well as an Arcia-Wong-Hiura double play. The defense was steady behind Peralta. Keston Hiura looked comfortable at first base, fielding some high sun popouts, unassisted outs, and a tricky forceout grounder to get the lead runner in the fourth.
The Brewer offense was pretty quiet after the fourth at bat of the day. Seattle lefty James Paxton had a strong four-inning start, striking out eight, walking one, and allowing only two hits, including the already mentioned lost-in-the-sun double that would otherwise be a routine flyout.
Drew Rassmussen closed out the fifth for Peralta and went three up and three down in the sixth, looking sharp, pushing 100 on the radar gun. He was in the minority of pitchers who did not give up solo home runs on the day. Brad Boxberger allowed a solo home run to Julio Rodríguez in the seventh, breaking the tie that had hung around since the first batter of the second inning. J.P. Feyereisen, who has impressed in spring training, allowed his first hit and run in the same pitch, giving up a leadoff solo home run to Jantzen Witte in the eighth. He quickly recovered, retiring the next three batters. Hoby Milner put up a zero in the ninth, allowing a single and a stolen base before retiring the next three batters.
Garrett Mitchell produced one of the few hits of the day to continue to impress at spring training, a soft line-drive single on his only plate appearance of the day, which came in the eighth inning.
Mitchell was stranded in scoring position after stealing second after the throw from home was deflected off Mariner pitcher Aaron Flecher’s glove.
The Brewers take on Cleveland tomorrow at 3:10 CT.