Mariners Fall to Indians but Nate Karns Solid

The Mariners dropped their Spring Training game against the Indians yesterday 4-3. Nate Karns had an encouraging start.

The Mariners fell to the Indians yesterday in the Cactus League 4-3. Nate Karns, fighting for a spot in the Mariners’ rotation with James Paxton, went three innings, struck out two, walked two, and allowed a run on a sacrifice fly. The most encouraging number for Karns is the strikeout total. Karns came over in the Brad Miller trade with the Rays this offseason, peddling his strikeout numbers he posted as a rookie last year as a selling point for the rotation. Karns struck out 145 batters in 147 innings last season for Tampa Bay, good for an 8.9 k/9 average. That’s good enough to be on my fantasy team, kid.

Karns also suffered from gopheritis last year, surrendering 19 home runs in those 147 innings. Watch how he well he can keep the ball in the park this spring in the dry, thin air of Arizona. His homer-less effort against Cleveland yesterday is a good sign as well.

Shawn O’Malley manufactured a run against Indians pitcher Joe Thatcher in the fifth inning, reaching on an error by Cleveland utility man Jose Ramirez. He took second on a passed ball, then stole third. The Mariners’ Daniel Robertson then reached base on a bunt single, scoring O’Malley. Mike Zunino showed up in the box score with more than strikeouts, chipping in an RBI, along with Ed Lucas.

The Mariners won late against Kansas City this afternoon in Goodyear, Arizona, with Taijuan Walker fanning five in three innings and Lucas giving the M’s a win with a ground-rule double in the eighth inning. New first baseman Dae-Ho Lee also knocked in a run for Seattle in the game.

Lee is battling with Stefen Romero and Jesus Montero for the right to back up Adam Lind in the first base platoon.