Love ’em & Hate ’em
Seattle 2, Oakland 0
When: 10:05 PM ET, Monday, April 1, 2013
Where: O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California
Umpires: Home – Dana DeMuth, 1B – Angel Hernandez, 2B – Doug Eddings, 3B – John Tumpane
In honor of the Mariners triumphant win over the defending AL West champions on opening night and the beginning of their inevitable 162-0 record, I present the season’s first love and hate article.
The great news, opening day has softened the article, and it is a great time to favor the love over the hate, just for today.
1. The King is back
Supreme Court, King’s Court, Oakland, backyard, outer space… the location doesn’t matter. 8 strikeouts over 7.2 innings allowing only 3 hits and a walk make Felix Hernandez number one on the list.
Even with expectations so high and a $175 million extension, Hernandez pleasantly surprised the 15,000 plus fans that showed up at the SafeCo Field open house Monday night by outperforming everyone.
Great stuff from the King.
2. Stephen Pryor
It would be hard to ask for more from the young relief pitcher. With the bases loaded in the 8th and the M’s holding a two-run lead, Stephen Pryor entered the game and recorded the last out of the inning.
His biggest fan? Felix has seen gems wasted over and over again in his career with Seattle, but on Monday the win was preserved.
Pryor has a bright future this season and beyond.
3. Offensive response
There is no way the Mariners could have started 2013 worse. Four batter went to the dish and all of them struck out swinging. A’s SP Brett Anderson was looking a lot like Nolan Ryan, but the Mariners calmed themselves, and against a hot pitcher got the runs needed.
CF Franklin Gutierrez provided the 2-RBI single in the 5th inning, driving home the aggressive base runners Dustin Ackley and Brendan Ryan, who put themselves in scoring position with a little extra hustle. Ryan reached base in all three plate appearance Monday night.
1. A terrible start
Baseball players are weird and most of them have the short-memory ability needed to succeed in the bigs, but it would be great if the Mariners didn’t start the game so inept. It seemed like they were barely making contact while swinging at everything.
Make the starter show his pitches and make the outs productive in some way, make the defense work for it. As noted above, the team responded later, which was nice.
It feels wrong to hate on a great night like this, but there are things to pay attention to the rest of the series. The offense could have had the same production and easily lost tonight.
Hernandez is the third pitcher to make six Opening Day starts prior to turning 27. Bert Blyleven and Dwight Gooden are the others.
Former M’s catcher John Jaso had a one-out double in the fourth for Oakland’s first hit off Hernandez. Athletics pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts and Seattle 3B Kyle Seager fanned three times.
What to watch for tonight if you missed the opener:
Michael Morse does a really strange stretch-thing (follow NWSportsbeat on Instragram to check out the photo) in between pitches. If you missed it, watch for it tonight. He makes himself really small and tense before his half-practice swings.
It is weird stuff.
I don’t know how I missed it during Spring Training, but worth checking out.
Cheers & Go M’s.