We had a couple of young guns going against one another last night. For Texas, a hard-throwing right hander by the name of Alexi Ogando making his first ever start in the big leagues (after apparently relieving last season for the Rangers). And for the Mariners, of course, we had Michael Pineda: the most highly-touted rookie pitcher we’ve seen ’round these parts since a certain King graced us with his presence.
One of those pitchers had to face the Number 1 scoring offense in all of baseball. The other had to face a considerably worse group of batters.
I’ll say this about Ogando and then I won’t talk about him again: he was ALL RIGHT. He wasn’t anything special. And by the time the 6th and final inning came around, his fastball (which was in the mid-to-upper 90s all game) started to decline at a rapid rate. He was barely touching 90 on the gun when he lost his gas. That MIGHT concern me, if I were a Texas fan.
Ogando might have held us scoreless in his six innings, might have held us to 2 hits and 2 walks against 4 strikeouts, but I’m gonna tell you right now, Michael Pineda was the better pitcher last night. YES, he went six innings while giving up 5 hits and 3 runs (off of 4 extra-base hits), but you reverse things and see where that gets you! Make Ogando face that Texas lineup while Pineda feasts on Mariner bats! Not only would Pineda have given up zero runs, but he would’ve cruised through all nine innings.
Aside from a few mistakes (Mitch Moreland can suck it!) to some pretty good hitters, Pineda held Texas in check. I mean, hell, he held the 5-0 division leaders to their lowest output of runs all season!
I’d like to take a step back from the game here and put this out in the world: what would yesterday have been like if Luke French had started. Or, hell forbid, Nate Robertson! First of all, we would have lost by 50 runs. And second of all, no one would have given two shits about yesterday’s game even though we’re still in the first week of baseball. As it stands now, the average Mariners fan has at least 2 games to get excited about in any given week. The hardcore Mariners fan has to like our chances in 4 out of every 5 games once Bedard starts coming around. The delusional Mariners fan wears a Doug Fister jersey, but that’s neither here nor there.
It’s REALLY a shame we had to play Texas on this opening road trip. It’s my belief that if you swapped them for the Angels, we would have had a better than good chance of finishing this road trip 5-1 or 4-2. That, in turn, would’ve generated some momentum going into a homestand where we play the likes of Cleveland and Toronto, before a quick Kansas City 4-game road trip and then another homestand against the likes of Detroit and Oakland. With some positive momentum following a very successful opening road trip, we could’ve REALLY made April our bitch.
Instead, we ran into a buzzsaw, lost ALL momentum from our opening series win, and now stand a very good chance of going into our home opener having lost four straight. That’s going to hurt the walk-up sales, I’ll tell you that right now.
This morning, we have Felix. I have a bad feeling this is going to be the first of many Felix starts where we give him zero run support. Probably could amend that to say “zero runs”. We’ll see. An 11am game, YEESH. Rise and shine you fucking bats you!