Mariners Insider

Mariners 2, A’s 0 — Felix’s opening day domination of the A’s continues

Post by Ryan Divish on April 1, 2013 at 11:18 pm with 9 Comments »
April 1, 2013 11:24 pm

A new season began on Monday for the Seattle Mariners. But the same old Felix Hernandez showed up at Coliseum to continue his dominance of the Oakland A’s on Monday night.

It’s almost become as much of an opening day tradition as the decorative bunting that the stadiums like to put up for the first game of the season.

Hernandez tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings, allowing just three hits, while striking out eight and walking just one to lead the Mariners to a 2-0 win over the Oakland A’s.

Seattle has now won seven straight opening day games – not coincidentally Hernandez has made six of those starts.

For five of the last six seasons, the A’s have had the unfortunate pleasure of having to face Hernandez to start the season. And in those five starts, Hernandez has pitched 39 1/3 innings, giving up a total of six runs for a 1.37 earned run average. He’s also struck 35 A’s batters in those starts. He’s also now 3-0.

It seems almost unfair.

Felix Hernandez
AP Photo/Ben Margot

“Felix pitched a great game,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “He’s a special pitcher. He really set the tone for us tonight.”

Hernandez set the tone for the organization in the offseason, choosing to sign a 7-year, $175 million contract and stay the face of the franchise instead of heading elsewhere in a few years.

He made sure his first official start after signing that monster contract didn’t disappoint.

“It feels good,” Hernandez said. “I was hoping to start the season the right way. To get a win, it’s pretty good. It felt really special.”

In front of a sold out crowd of 36,067, most of whom booed him loudly during pregame introductions, Hernandez silenced them for the better part of seven innings.

“Well, they did boo me,” he said.

He didn’t allow a hit for the first three innings. The first hit came in the bottom of the fourth inning when John Jaso – his former catcher, who Hernandez had given a Rolex watch to pregame for catching his perfect game last season – doubled to the left-center gap.

(AP Photo/Janie McCauley)
(AP Photo/Janie McCauley)

“He was pretty excited to face me up,” Hernandez said. “And then he broke up the no-hitter.

Hernandez said he wouldn’t ask for the watch back.

“I should have said, ‘what time is it?’ to him,” Hernandez joked.

Jaso advanced to third on a ground ball to first base from Josh Reddick. It looked like the A’s might finally get to Hernandez as Yoenis Cespedes hit a hard ground ball up the middle that seemed like a sure single

But shortstop Brendan Ryan came from nowhere to grab the ball well behind second base, spin and fire to first to get Cespedes to end the inning.

“Oh man, you know that guy, he’s one of the best out there,” Hernandez said.

Ryan has made the play a thousand times, and makes it look so routine. It isn’t.

“I just want to make sure I catch it,” he said. “Once I caught it, it was find (first baseman Justin Smoak) and make the best throw I can. Once I released it, I knew we were ok.”

But it was Ryan’s bat – yes, his bat – which helped set up the Mariners only run.

In the top of the fifth, Dustin Ackley drew a one-out walk from A’s starter Brett Anderson, who had been pretty tough up to that point. Ryan followed with a soft single to right-center. Ackley read that the ball wasn’t going to be caught and was able to advanced from first to third, sliding in just ahead of the tag from Josh Reddick. Ryan saw the ball was being thrown to third and advanced to second on throw.

“Great read by Ackley, and great job by Brendan by following his lead,” Wedge said.

With runners on second and third with one out, Franklin Gutierrez drove in the game’s only runs, lacing a hard single up the middle on a 3-2 slider.

“I was just trying to stay up the middle of the field,” Gutierrez said. “He made a mistake and normally a big league hitter doesn’t miss mistakes.”

Given up a 2-0 lead, Hernandez cruised until the eighth inning. After getting two quick outs, he gave up a two-out double to Seth Smith and then walked Eric Sogard. Wedge had seen enough at 109 pitches. He brought in Charlie Furbush to face Coco Crisp. Furbush loaded the bases. Wedge then called on Stephen Pryor, who was able to get pinch hitter Derek Norris to ground out to end the inning.

“I like that situation,” Pryor said. “I like the pressure. I’m just glad I got called on to go in there.”

Tom Wilhelmsen came on to pitch the ninth to secure the win for Hernandez and get his first save.

The Mariners revamped offense managed just five hits in the game and struck out 11 times. But when you have Hernandez on the mound, two runs can be plenty.

“That’s Felix for you,” Ryan said. “We are awfully glad he’s on our side.”

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. dave8557 says:

    Nice to see Felix pick up where he left off last year. Very disappointed to see the unsightly tattoo on his neck. Hey Felix, you’re a role model. How nice that your employer allows you to deface your body with a tattoo up to your ear, while the rest of us would be fired if we came to work like that. You look like a thug!!

  2. ryanryan says:

    @dave – FFS, get over yourself. who cares how many tattoo’s a man has…isn’t it his body? he seems like a pretty generous young man to me, which suits me pretty well for a role model. tribal aries tattoo…pretty damned innocuous.

  3. Seriously dave, Felix is the ultimate seattle star and you are complaining of a tattoo?….get over it. Raise hell when he assaults his wife or gets arrested for a DUI…a tattoo? SMH

  4. The tattoo is not my cup of tea–but Felix is.

  5. bbnate420 says:

    Dave, you were, “Very disappointed”? If that’s true, then you need to seriously get a life. The 1950’s called to let you know that they’re over. Nobody gives an ef what you think about Felix or his tattoo.

  6. bbnate420 says:

    And you shouldn’t get your panties in a bunch if a pro athlete does something that’s actually wrong either. Who amongst you are perfect? None of you. You can’t be a role model for your stupid kids either then, because I’m sure you’ve made more than a few mistakes in your life. If you don’t have kids, then you’re just a straight loser for being concerned about whether or not other grown men have tattoos. It should be a teaching moment for your kids when a celebrity messes up. You can teach them that nobody is perfect, and that we should put our faith in principles and not personalities.

  7. wabubba67 says:

    dave8557 lives in a time warp where starting pitchers complete games (and then start again on 3 days rest). You know, when men were men and career ending injuries to pitchers were just an accepted part of the game.

    I feel sorry for the kids in his neighborhood….they are likely weary of dodging beer cans being thrown at them with the accompanying phrase, “Get off my lawn!”

  8. bbnate420 says:

    Funny, wabubba67. Good to see you’re still alive. What did you think of Franklin and Miller hitting-wise this Spring? Do you think Miller can play SS defensively in the majors?

  9. wabubba67 says:

    Franklin’s hitting seems to have improved, but his fielding regresses each time I see him. Nothing is handled cleanly. Not impressed with his range, arm strength, or accuracy. He doesn’t project as a MLB shortstop to me and I am beginning to doubt his ability to handle 2B. I’m hoping that he has a great start this season and that the Mariners package him as part of a trade.

    I haven’t seen Miller play a whole lot, but I have liked him so far. Fast runner, plays hard, has a little pop in his bat too. Need to see him play more before forming an opinion.

    Hope you are well. With my work schedule and lack of computer (I go to the Scottsdale library.), it can be a little tough to post consistently.

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