Mariners Insider

Opening night – Mariners vs. Twins

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on April 6, 2009 at 5:42 pm with No Comments »
April 6, 2009 5:42 pm

OK, you want to be nervous, feel free.

Felix Hernandez just pitched out of a first-inning jam, but more alarming, badly turned his right ankle on the Astro turf here fielding a ball that was foul.

He stayed in the game, but is being taped between innings.

Pain and swelling will be factors tonight and perhaps beyond.

There’s no score, but all Mariners eyes are now on Felix.

Happy New Year

Anyone who watched the Mariners in 2008 remembers the frustration of watching an anemic offense not do the simple things required of scoring.

Well, it’s a new season, baby.

Adrian Beltre led off the second inning with a double, and Ken Griffey Jr. grounded to the right side of the infield to push Beltre to third base.

Jose Lopez flied out to left field – just foul – but deep enough to get Beltre home.

This team worked all spring on just this kind of situational hitting, and two innings into their first game, it’s given the Mariners lead, 1-0.

Junior, Junior, Junior

Leading off the fifth inning, Junior made a little history with his first home run of the season.

It was No. 612 in his career, and the eighth opening day homer he’s hit – tying him with Frank Robinson for the major league lead.

It was also his 399th home run of his Mariners career.

All that, and it’s good for a 2-0 lead.

Bad pitching, good pitching

Felix Hernandez pitched himself into a bases-loaded, no one out situation – two singles and a walk – and then pitched out of it with his lead shortened but intact.

After the Twins loaded ‘em up, Hernandez got a pop fly, gave up an RBI single and then induced cleanup hitter Justin Morneau to ground into a double play.

Five innings in: Seattle 2, Minnesota 1.

Power to the Powerless

Franklin Guttierrrez has speed, a fine arm and little power – at least that’s the scoutin report.

After Endy Chavez singled one out into th sixth inning, Guttierrez took Francisco Liriano deep, just clearing the fence in left-center field for his first home run.

Bad scouting.

Seattle 4, Minnesota 1

Looking very ace-like

Ever since he poked his head into the big leagues, Felix Hernandez has been an ace in waiting – and waiting and waiting.

Good but not quite over that hump, he was challenged this spring by new manager Don Wakamatsu and pitching coach Rick Adair to grow into that role, and to do it now.

An ace leads. He eats innings on days he doesn’t feel good. He wins without his best stuff. He leads.

Pitching on a twisted ankle, Felix has thrown 95 pitches in eight innings, and leads 4-1. He’s eaten innings, shown tenacity and done his job.

Brandon Morrow is warming up, but Felix may talk them into letting him start the ninth. Usually, if a manager gets his closer up, he puts his closer in.

We’ll see. Either way, a commanding performance tonight from Felix.

And in the end …

Felix stayed in the dugout, Morrow sat down and Miguel Batista came in – this after Jose Lopez banged a two-out, two-run single to make it a 6-1 game.

That’s three RBI tonight for Lopez, and the kind of game this team couldn’t have drawn up much better.

Great starting pitching, fine clutch hitting – not a bad beginning for a team coming off a 101 loss season.

Leave a comment Comments
We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0