After concluding their two-game, Japan series with the Oakland A’s, the Mariners will resume spring training in Arizona. The M’s open in Seattle April 13.
GAME: Mariners (1-0, 1st AL West, +1.0 GA) vs. Athletics (0-1, 4th AL West, – 1.0 GB). GAME #: 2. SERIES: 2nd of 2 games. MEETING (2012): 2nd (Mariners lead 1-0). WHEN: Thursday, 2:04 a.m. (PT), Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan. PROBABLE PITCHERS: LHP Jason Vargas (Seattle, 10-13, 4.25) vs. Bartolo Colon (Oakland, 8-10, 4.00). STREAKS: Mariners W 1; Athletics L 1. TV: ROOT Sports, MLB TV. RADIO: KIRO 710 (Seattle), Mariners Radio Network).
It’s going to be difficult for the Seattle Mariners (1-0) to top the theatrics produced by Ichiro and Dustin Ackley in a 3-1 season-opening victory over the Oakland Athletics (0-1) at the Tokyo Dome Wednesday, but they will give it a go Thursday when they hand the ball to Jason Vargas for the second and concluding game of a landmark trip to Japan.
The 29-year-old Vargas, the only lefty in Seattle’s five-man rotation, will oppose well-traveled veteran Bartolo Colon, who will be making his first start for the Athletics after spending the 2011 season with the New York Yankees.
Following Game #2 of 162, which will begin at 2:04 a.m., Pacific Time, the Mariners will return to their spring training headquarters in Peoria, AZ., play five more exhibition games, and then resume their regular-season schedule with a two-game series against the Athletics at the Oakland-Alameda County Stadium April 6-7.
The Mariners will then play a four-game series in Texas before returning to Seattle for their Safeco Field Opener April 13. A closer look at the Game 2 pitching combatants:
TODAY’S PROBABLE PITCHERS
MARINERS: LHP Jason Vargas (10-13, 4.25)
Vargas last faced the Athletics Sept. 26, 2011, beating them 4-2 for his 10th and final victory of the 2011 season. He allowed five hits over 8.0 innings and fanned 10.
Vargas, originally a second-round draft pick by the Florida Marlins (2004), has pitched for Seattle since 2009 and has a career record of 28-39 with a 4.53 ERA.
The Mariners acquired Vargas in a blockbuster, three-team trade Dec. 8, 2008, in which the Mariners sent J.J. Putz to the Mets. Seattle also received Mike Carp and Franklin Gutierrez in that trade. Since then, Vargas has made 86 appearances for the Mariners, with 77 starts and a record of 22-31.
Last year, Vargas made 32 starts and set career highs in strikeouts, wins and innings. He finished T3 in the American League with three shutouts and T4 in complete games with four. The three shutouts occurred over a six-start span from June 3-July 1.
LAST START: Pitched in a minor league intrasquad game March 21. Prior to that he got raked for seven earned runs on eight hits in 0.2 IP March 19. During Cactus League, Vargas worked a total of 8.2 innings, going 0-1 with a 12.46 ERA with six strikeouts in three starts.
CAREER VS. A’S: Has a 3-4 mark and a 3.97 ERA in nine appearances, including seven starts covering 47.2 IP; averages 8.1 K’s per 9 innings vs. Oakland, but has been dinged for 5 HRs and has walked 12 batters; has thrown one complete game.
2011 VS. A’S: Went 1-3 with a 3.86 ERA in five games, all starts, covering 32.2 IP; averaged 8.0 K’s per 9 IP, fanning 29 of 134 batters faced; tossed a complete game against Oakland July 6, allowing five hits over eight IP, but sustained a 2-0 loss.
LOVES TO FACE: Chris Carter (0-for-6, .000 BA, 3 K’s), Michael Taylor (0-for-5, .000 BA, 3 K’s), Cliff Pennington (3-for-13, .231 BA).
HATES TO FACE: Adam Rosales (2-for-5, .400 BA); Jemile Weeks (3-for-10, .300 BA, 1 BB).
ATHLETICS: RHP Bartolo Colon (8-10, 4.00)
Colon spent the 2011 season pitching for the New York Yankees, going 8-10 in 29 appearances, including 26 starts. New York granted Colon free agency after the season, and he hooked on with the Athletics Jan. 12 as a free agent.
Since his salad days in Cleveland (1997-02), Colon has pitched for the Expos (2002), White Sox (2003), Angels (2004-07) and Red Sox (2008). He had a second stint with the White Sox in 2009.
Now 39 years old, Colon hasn’t posted a season with double figures in wins since 2005, when he won 21 games for the Angels. Over the past three seasons, Colon has averaged just four wins per year.
Colon has twice scored Opening Day victories over the Mariners. He picked up the win in 2004, when the Angels defeated the Mariners 10-5, and again in 2006 when the Angels beat the Mariners 5-4.
Mariners 3, Athletics 1
AT TOKYO (March 28): Dustin Ackley drove in two runs with a solo home run and an RBI single and Ichiro delivered four hits, wowing his Japanese countrymen, as the Mariners defeated the Oakland Athletics in 11 innings in front of a sellout crowd of 44,227 at the Tokyo Dome.
Ackley, who belted a solo homer in the fourth, drove in Brendan Ryan in the 11th for the go-ahead run, and then Ichiro added an insurance run when his fourth hit of the game scored Ackley. Reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, working in relief of Felix Hernandez, collected the victory after pitching two scoreless innings. Brandon League picked up save No. 1 for his scoreless 11th inning.
By winning, the Mariners extended their streak of Opening Day wins to six, a franchise record and the longest such streak in the major leagues. The Mariners also improved to 6-3 all-time against Oakland in Opening Day games.
Ichiro, batting third, became the second player in franchise history to collect four hits in an Opening Day game, joining Ken Griffey Jr., who went 4-for 5 in a 7-4 win over the California Angels April 9, 1990.
Hernandez, who received his second Opening Day no-decision, worked 8.0 innings, allowing one run on six hits. He fanned six and did not walk a batter.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
MARINERS WON-LOSS BREAKDOWN
|Rec.||Home||Road||Day||Night||vs. RHP||vs. LHP||Hit HR||No HR|
MARINERS BATTING PROFILE
MARINERS PITCHING PROFILE
|4/6||Fri||at Oak||To Be Determined|
|4/7||Sat||at Oak||To Be Determined|
|4/9||Mon||at Tex||To Be Determined|
|4/10||Tue||at Tex||To Be Determined|
MARINERS 2012 SCHEDULE/RESULTS
|Gm.#||Date||Opp.||W/L||Rec.||Win / Loss|
|1||3/28||at Oak||W, 3-1||1-0||W: Wilhelmsen (1-0); L: Carignan (0-1)|
|Gm. #||Date||Opp.||W/L||Rec.||Win / Loss|