Mariners Tidbit 16: Opening Day

And Seth Smith jumps out to a commanding lead for YOUR Favorite New Mariner!

Boy, that game was something, wasn’t it?  It had it all:  hits, strikeouts, leaving work before 11am, drinking during the day, incredibly long bathroom lines you had to time JUST right (meaning:  you had to step away with Cano at the plate, two outs, and a runner in scoring position, just to run up the aisle and see a man about a horse before 20 people jumped in line behind you).

I had seats right on the edge of the King’s Court, in section 147.  So, the energy was pretty jazzed up, but I got the feeling that the whole stadium was into it from the first pitch.  I don’t have a real coherent narrative, so I’ll just bust out with the random thoughts.

I thought the best at bat of the entire ballgame wasn’t anything by Seth Smith, it wasn’t Trout’s mammoth home run, and it wasn’t even Austin Jackson getting off to a great start.  For my money, you’re not going to beat Robbie Cano’s 2-out RBI single in the third to give us a 2-1 lead.  To that point, Jered Weaver was working his slow-pitch magic.  Sure, the preceding double & triple tied the game, but Weaver isn’t usually one to give up the Big Inning.  He tried to steal a cheap strike to get ahead in the count (where, I’m sure, he’s at his deadliest), and on a day where only one of his pitches surpassed 86 mph, Cano ripped the first pitch he saw in that at bat straight up the middle for the go-ahead score.  That’s what we call using the ol’ noodle.

As it has been noted everywhere, Seth Smith went 3 for 3 with 3 extra base hits (the first Mariner to ever do that on Opening Day).  They won’t all be days this great for Seth Smith, but you gotta like a guy who’s proven capable in pitcher-friendly parks in the past.  He’s put up decent numbers in Oakland and San Diego, which leads me to believe he’s ready to tangle with a place like Safeco.

The bottom two and top two spots in the order did the bulk of the damage.  Nice to see Ackley hit a bomb, nice to see Miller and Jackson get on base twice.  These are the players who will make the biggest difference between us merely contending and us grabbing the division by the horns.

What can you say about King Felix?  Another Opening Day victory, another 7-inning, 10-strikeout, 1-run performance.  You want easy money?  Put it down on the Mariners on Opening Day with Felix on the mound.

The Most Important At-Bat of the Game:  Carson Smith vs. Mike Trout.  2-on, 2-out, top of the 8th.  You might argue the previous at-bat – where Furbush struck out Kole Calhoun to get us to 2 outs – was the more important, because if he walks him there, who knows what happens after?  All I know is, Carson Smith had 9 appearances before yesterday’s game, and he was called in (over Tom Wilhelmsen, over Yoervis Medina) to face the best everyday player in the game of baseball.  And, he struck him out on four pitches.  Outstanding.

Hey!  We get to do this all over again tonight!  And tomorrow night, I’ll be back at Safeco for the second time in three days!  I think I finally understand why Dave Sims continues to be employed by Root Sports; his on-air presence compels people like me to attend more games in person just to grab a little peace of mind.

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