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.
Pain and swelling will be factors tonight and perhaps beyond.
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.
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.
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 also his 399th home run of his Mariners career.
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.
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.
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.