Ace Cliff Lee didn't exactly pitch like a reigning CY Young winner again yesterday when he gave up seven runs on nine hits, including three home runs, in five innings of work.
His spring numbers now look like this in 21 2/3 innings:
The opposition hit .407 off him.
Although manager Eric Wedge still gave Lee the vote of confidence, per Anthony Castrovince.
"I thought the ball came out of Cliff's hand pretty good," Wedge said. "He had a real good breaking ball. His changeup was a little firm at times, but he had good fastball command. It was one of those hitters' days."'
The Arizona "dry ball" was also listed as possible reason why Lee has struggled, which Terry Pluto wrote about in depth.
However, Wedge, nor anyone else, made no excuses for reliever Masa Kobayashi.
Like Lee, Kobayashi was shelled. He gave up five runs on five hits, including a two-run homer run to Ken Griffey Jr. in one inning of work.
Wedge's response? (per Sheldon Ocker)
''Masa was up and a little flat,'' Wedge said. ''He threw too many fastballs. Carl [pitching coach Willis] went out to talk to him, and after that Masa threw a few splits and sliders, which was better.''
MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince is ready to start the office pool on when Kobayashi will be optioned or released.
One player who has been giving off some better signs of confidence is Travis Hafner.
He hit his second home run in as many days, but was actually convincing this time.
It wasn't Kevin Correia throwing a "Hang me, Bang me" curveball like it was the first time. Hafner went down and retrieved a slider from Mariners ace Felix Hernandez and pulled the ball over the right field fence.
Sheldon Ocker notes that Hafner has lifted his average from .143 to .260 in the past five games as well.
Paul Hoynes wrote it is one of the few times Hafner has pulled the ball in the air with authority all spring.