10 April 2014

Home Opening Series Vs Angels

Safeco Field is arguably one of the best ballparks in the entire Major Leagues. With its beautiful views, unique roof, and killer food, baseball is better in Seattle. Thankfully it's back in the Northwest, as the Mariners are set to start their homestand against our usual AL West foes.
VS Los Angeles-Anaheim 1-1 (5-3)
And what a spectacle it was at Safeco Field on Tuesday night! The Mariners returned home for their opener in Seattle as the fans buzzed for the 2014 campaign to keep up the momentum. 46,000 packed the house to watch James Paxton square off against the Angels, hopeful to see him build on his first game's successes. After a rocky first inning surrendering, long home runs to Albert Pujols and David Freese, Paxton would settle in and remind M's fans why we should stay excited about this staff. Paxton would leave without throwing a pitch in the 6th inning and later be placed on the 15-day DL with an issue to his left lat muscle. The M's would answer with 2 missiles off the bat of Corey Hart. The bullpen held strong and kept the Angels scoreless and was anchored by a scoreless inning from Rodney to seal the deal. 5-2 to start the season, pinch me.

Game two pinched me the following night, as instead of the exciting 2014 squad, we witnessed the 2010 Mariners lineup. Roenis Elias took the mound, still building on his success from his previous start. He only allowed two earned runs in five innings of work, surrendering a two run homer to the much despised Albert Pujols. Garrett Richards of the Angels, doing his best Roger Clemons impression, was dominate over 7 innings, allowing only one Mariner hit. While it seems easy to blame the Seattle bats, give credit where credit is due. He changed speeds effectively all night and located some nasty breaking stuff to go along with a fastball that touched 98. The hitter's seemed to fall into their old habits. There were a lot of swings at bad balls and no plan or confident approach at the plate was evident. Elias gave them a chance to win, but as with baseball, it happens.

With Paxton down, the M's will need to keep hitting to stay in the race early in the year. While Taijuan Walker and Hisashi Iwakuma are rehabbing and looking to bounce back soon, the bats need to stay hot. Remember Mariners fans, it's a 162 game season. While nobody wants to see a one hit shut out, especially at home, I don't see that as being an every day thing. Watch the M's to bounce back against the A's. More situation hitting, more balls in play, and less strikeouts.

5-3. Winning record folks, tied with the A's for first place. Embrace the early successes, prepare for the long season. This isn't your typical Mariners team. While they aren't totally complete (need a nice right handed hitter from the outfield), they have something they haven't had in years. They have a chance.

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