The Mariners Are Super-Good At Baseball In The Month Of March

It was Opening Day.  Some people say Opening Day should be a national holiday, but then again some people should shut their damn mouths until the day after the Super Bowl is a national holiday.

I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this season, as I anticipate being beaten down like a mule by all the mediocrity around me, but I figured I had to at least watch Robinson Cano’s first at bat and Felix’s first inning.  What can I say?  I’m an old softie.

So, I watched the first inning end scoreless as Cano grounded out weakly to the short stop.  And I watched Felix give up a leadoff single and a home run to Mike Trout.  And I figured, “Eh, that’s enough of baseball.”

What did I do with my evening?  It’s entirely possible I spent the next three hours plowing through the final six episodes of How I Met Your Mother, balling my eyes out as I was hugging Mr. Teddy and eating bonbons; but I can neither confirm nor deny.  Most likely, I was doing something rugged and tough, like fighting my way through a rabid grizzly bear parade wearing nothing but a pair of brass knuckles and a jock strap.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.

The point is, it was 10 o’clock when I finished … whatever it was that I was doing, and the game was still on.  Not only that!  But, those plucky Mariners actually managed to take a lead!  I had been flipping over to the Internet to check on the score between episodes maulings, and when I saw we were down 3-1, I figured it was over.  Hell, if I had money and I was near a sportsbook before the game, I most likely would have put heavy cabbage down on the Angels winning this game.

Are you kidding?  The Mariners, on a 7-game winning streak on Opening Day coming into yesterday; playing the Angels in Anaheim, a team that Felix traditionally struggles against; with a healthy Jered Weaver and a Mariners lineup fresh from an offensively-dynamic Spring Training just waiting to disappoint … the table was set for an Angels walk-over.

I guess it’s a good thing I wasn’t anywhere near a sportsbook, because I would’ve lost even MORE money on something that I’m not particularly good at:  betting on sports, or anything else.

I missed Felix’s 11 strikeouts over six innings.  I missed Tom Wilhelmsen’s mastery of the thrown baseball to preserve the lead to the ninth.  I even missed the first two hits by Robinson Cano in a Mariners uniform.  But, I turned the game back on right as Justin Smoak stepped into the batter’s box with two on and two out.  “Surely,” I thought, “this will be a weak fly ball just short of the warning track, and then we’ll be greeted by Fernando Rodney blowing his first save of the season.”

Instead, Smoak straight up jacked one out to right field.  Three straight walks followed, with Dustin Ackley sending them all home with a triple.  A 4-3 lead ballooned to 10-3, and I’ll tell you, it’s JUST what the doctor ordered.

Almonte had two hits (leading off, a questionable move to say the least, given his limited experience and crappy Spring numbers); Cano had two hits; Smoak had two hits, three RBI, and three runs scored; Ackley had two hits and three RBI … every Mariners hitter reached base by at least a hit or a walk.

As for the lineup, I’ll say this:  I’m willing to have a wait-and-see approach with Almonte leading off.  As long as he’s finding ways to work counts and get on base, I’m cool.  But, if he goes into a super-slump, I’ll want him moved down in the order REAL quick.  Also, what the shit was that:  having Logan Morrison batting fifth over Kyle Seager?  On his BEST day, that goon isn’t a better hitter than Seager!  I expect that to change sooner rather than later, but what does it say about the skipper?  Is Seager in some sort of doghouse?  He went from batting second, to fourth, to fifth in the lineup during Spring Training … and now he’s sixth?  I don’t get it.  Granted, which spot a guy bats in probably doesn’t matter a whole lot; but, you DO want to have your better hitters getting more of the at-bats.  I think Seager’s quality work will speak for itself and he’ll move back up in the order in no time.

Today, we’ve got Erasmo Ramirez vs. C.J. Wilson.  We also get to see Corey Hart for the first time when it matters.  I’m … I’m worried, but I think I’m always going to worry about that DH position until second-year prospect D.J. Peterson mashes his way into our hearts.

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