M’s vs. A’s In Tokyo: The pitching, series preview, analysis & predictions

Athletics vs. Mariners Matchup

The Seattle Mariners will take on the Athletics on Japanese soil.

Our M’s open the 2012 Major League baseball season in Tokyo Japan against the Oakland A’s.  Oakland will play the part of the home team but Seattle will be the fan favorite’s thanks solely to Japanese superstar Ichiro Suzuki.

Pitching Match Ups

Felix Hernandez will take on Brandon McCarthy on Opening day.

Hernandez finished the 2011 campaign with a 14 and 14 record and an ERA of 3.47.  Hernandez pitched a complete game victory against the Athletics in last year’s opening day match up and would finish the season 3-0 in 4 starts against the AL West rival.

Meanwhile McCarthy (9-9 3.32ERA) went 1-3 in his 4 games against Seattle last season, but he did so while pitching a 1.99 ERA against them.

Left Handed Pitcher Jason Vargas will up against former Yankee Bartolo Colon in the second game in the 2 game series.  Vargas (10-13 4.45 ERA) didn’t fare so well against Oakland last season going 1-3 in 5 starts with an ERA of 3.86.  Colon hasn’t faced Seattle since 2009 when he pitched 7 innings only allowing a single run.


Mariners RH Felix Hernandez vs. Athletics RH Brandon McCarthy

With their ace on the mound the Mariners are clearly the favorites.  If the trend continues from last season the M’s will only need two runs to secure a win against Oakland.

However, the Seattle right hander struggled in his last spring outing and may still be settling for the season.  The M’s new lineup will need to get an early lead to give their ace a chance to get into a comfortable grove.

M's vs. A's

With their ace on the mound the Mariners are clearly the favorites in game 1.

March 28, 2012 Mariners 4 – Athletics 1

Vargas was also rocked fairly hard in his last spring start and the real question will be left to the offense to answer the demands upon it.  Seattle has struggled converting base runners into runs over the past few years getting an average of only 3.43 runs per outing.

This game will depend greatly on a relatively unproven Seattle bullpen.  Colon’s numbers with the Yankee offense were not great and the Oakland line up won’t likely offer much more of an advantage.

This game will be pretty evenly matched.

March 29, 2012 Mariners 4 – Athletics 3

Other Details:

As the opening series is happening in Japan earlier than the rest of the MLB start to the season, both teams will return to Spring Training following the series before their US opening that will be happening in Oakland.

By having the teams face each other again after Japan ensures that the teams are equally fatigued by their travels.

There are also special roster rules for this series and the final roster may change slightly between this and the next series against the Athletics.

The Mariners are relatively more healthy having only 2 players on the DL to start the season (Franklin Gutierrez – CF, Adam Moore – C) compared with the 4 injured players for Oakland (Brett Anderson – P, Daric Barton – 1B, Dallas Braden – P, Joey Devine – P, Scott Sizemore – 3B).

New Oakland pick up Manny Ramirez is also ineligible to play for the first 50 games of the season due to a drug suspension that caused him to retire last season.

Look for new Oakland center fielder Yoenis Cespedes (recently defected from Cuba after a dominate start to his pro career in the league there) replacing Coco Crisp, who will be starting in left field to start the season.

Crisp has admitted disappointment in the move and that may be reflected in his performance.


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