BY SPNW Staff 06:30AM 04/13/2012

9: After Long Strange Trip, Mariners Back Home

Meeting in Tokyo for 2 games and in Oakland for 2 more, the Mariners and A’s land in a third city Friday. They will play each other anywhere, often and without regard to boredom.

After traveling 15,000 miles from Arizona, to Japan, to Arizona, to Oakland and Texas, the Mariners return to Safeco Field for the home season opener Friday night against the Oakland Athletics. / Wiki Commons

GAME: Athletics (3-4, 3rd, AL West, -2.0 GB) at Mariners (4-4, 2nd AL West, -1.5 GB). GAME #: 9. SERIES: 1st of 3 games. MEETING (2012): 5th (Mariners lead 3-1). WHEN: Friday, 7:10 p.m., Safeco Field. PROBABLE PITCHERS: RHP Bartolo Colon (Oakland, 1-1, 5.84) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (Seattle, 1-0, 4.40). STREAKS: Mariners L 1; Athletics W 1. TV: ROOT Sports, MLB TV. RADIO: KIRO 710 (Seattle), Mariners Radio Network.

Following an eight-game road trip to launch the 2012 season, which included an historic, two-game sojourn to Japan, the Mariners return to Safeco Field Friday for their home opener and the start of a 10-day, nine-game stand against the Oakland Athletics (Friday-Sunday), Cleveland Indians (April 17-19) and Chicago White Sox (April 20-22).

In addition to the pitching matchup of Felix Hernandez and Bartolo Colon, the Mariners have a variety of activities planned for Opening Weekend, including the following Friday:

  • Pre-game festivities begin at 6:30 p.m.
  • The first King’s Court of the season (Felix Hernandez getting the start), features ticket prices in two special seating sections (149-150) for $45, which includes a King’s Court T-shirt and K Card, which has already sold out.
  • Former Mariners outfielder Mike Cameron, who retired last winter, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
  • National Anthem will be performed by Anna Graceman, 12, a singer/songwriter from Juneau, AK. Anna was a finalist on America’s Got Talent and her music videos have been viewed millions of times on YouTube.
  • The annual first run around the bases of Safeco Field will be by Make-A-Wish recipient Olivia Hanstad of Mount Vernon, 12, a cancer survivor who will be the first to “touch them all” at Safeco Field on Opening Night.
  • All in attendance will receive a Mariners 2012 magnetic schedule courtesy of Safeco Insurance.
  • Hernandez and Colon will oppose each other for the second time this season. They faced off April 7 in Oakland, Hernandez collecting his first win, Colon absorbing his first loss. A closer look:

MARINERS: RHP Felix Hernandez (1-0, 4.40 ERA, 0.98 WHIP)

Felix Hernandez

The 25-year-old Hernandez, in his eighth major league season, all with the Mariners, will be making his third start of the season, his third against the Athletics, and second against Colon.

A native of Valencia, VZ., the 6-3, 230-pound Hernandez was signed as a non-drafted free agent July 4, 2002 by Seattle scout Bob Engle.

He made his major league debut Aug. 4,2005, absorbing a 3-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers, in a game in which Hernandez allowed one earned run and fanned four. He is a two-time American League All-Star (2009, 2011) and won the AL Cy Young award in 2010, when he went 13-12 with a 2.27 ERA.

Hernandez brings a career mark of 86-67, 3.25 ERA into the game, and a career batting average against of .244.

  • LAST START (Saturday, April 7): Knocked around for six earned runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings, but survived for the win due to a 6-0 Seattle lead; fanned 7, walked just one, throwing 102 pitches, 64 for strikes; allowed one home run, to Jemile Weeks.
  • LAST VS. ATHLETICS (April 7): Faced 29 batters, getting six ground-ball outs and 14 fly-ball outs; had an in-game ERA of 4.40.
  • CAREER VS. ATHLETICS: 23 appearances, all starts, a 13-4 record with a 2.71 ERA in 159.2 innings.
  • AT SAFECO FIELD: 101 starts, 44-29 record with a 3.23 ERA covering 693.1 IP; whiffs 8.4 batters per 9 IP, and allowed 59 home runs.
  • LOVES TO FACE: Coco Crisp (7-for-39, .179 BA, 8 K’s), Josh Reddick (3-for-12, .250 BA), Jemile Weeks (3-for-14, .214 BA, 2 K’s, 1 HR), Jonny Gomes (2-for-9, .222 BA, 5 K’s),
  • HATES TO FACE: Kurt Suzuki (10-for-32, .313 BA, 6 RBIs); Cliff Pennington (8-for-31, .258, 2 2Bs).

Felix In 2012

  • March 28 (ND, 0-0): Pitched well enough to win season debut, but the Mariners and A’s battled through a 1-1 tie until the 11th when Seattle pushed across two runs to win 3-1, a Tokyo Dome contest that featured a home run and two RBIs by Dustin Ackley and a 4-for-5 performance by Ichiro.
  • April 7: (W, 1-0): Didn’t have best stuff — allowed six earned runs on eight hits over 6.1 IP — but the Mariners, banging 13 hits, 3 by Chone Figgins, staked him to a 6-0 lead.

ATHLETICS: RHP Bartolo Colon (1-1, 5.84 ERA, 1.14 WHIP)

Bartolo Colon

The 38-year-old Colon, in his 15th major league season and first with the Athletics, will be making his third start of the season, all against the Mariners.

A native of the Dominican Republic., the 5-11, 267-pound Colon was signed by the Cleveland Indians as an amateur free agent in 1993.

He made his debut with the Indians April 4, 1997, receiving a no-decision in an 8-6 loss to the California Angels. He allowed four runs on six hits.

Colon pitched for Cleveland from 1997-02, then was traded to the Montreal Expos in a deal that also involved former Mariner Cliff Lee (2010). Colon pitched one year for the Chicago White Sox (2003), four years for the Angels (2004-07), a year with Boston (2008), another year with the White Sox (2009) and one year with the Yankees (2011). Colon did not pitch in 2010 due to injury.

A two-time All-Star (1998, 2005), Colon has won 20 or more games twice, with a best of 21-8 in 2005. He led the American League in complete games in 2003 with 9.

Colon has a career 162-114 record, with a .410 ERA.

  • 2012: Two starts against the Mariners; defeated Seattle 4-1 March 29 in the Tokyo Dome; lost to the Mariners 8-7 April 7 in Oakland.
  • LAST START (April 7): Worked 4.1 innings, allowing seven earned run on 10 hits, suffering his first loss of 2012 and his first as a member of the Athletics; victimized big by Chone Figgins, who had three hits and two RBIs.
  • LAST VS. MARINERS: Colon faced 23 batters April 7, throwing 79 pitches, 52 for strikes; got 9 ground-ball outs and 15 fly-ball outs; did not yield a home run, but allowed a run-scoring triple to Ichiro.
  • CAREER VS. MARINERS: 31 games, all starts; a 15-12 record with a 4.24 ERA over 193 innings; whiffs 6.2 Mariners per 9; has been dinged for 18 home runs and has a .272 batting average against.
  • AT SAFECO FIELD: 11 starts; a 9-1 record with a 2.09 ERA; only Safeco loss occurred Aug. 24, 2001, when the Mariners beat Cleveland 4-1.
  • LOVES TO FACE: Brendan Ryan (0-for-3, .000 BA), Kyle Seager (0-for-3, .000 BA), Miguel Olivo (2-for-13, .154 BA, 5 K’s), Dustin Ackley (1-for-6, .167 BA).
  • HATES TO FACE: Chone Figgins (5-for-12, .417 BA), Ichiro (23-for-76, .303 BA, 3 HRs, 8 RBIs).

LAST GAME

Rangers 5, Mariners 3

AT ARLINGTON, TX. (April 12): Michael Young blasted a two-run homer and drove in four runs to back Derek Holland as the Rangers took the finale of the four-game series. Texas, the AL West leader (5-2), won the series 3-1.

Young put Texas ahead with an RBI single. With the Rangers leading 1-0 in the fifth inning for the third straight game, Young whacked an opposite-field homer into the first row in right for a 3-0 lead against Jason Vargas (1-1). Young added a run-scoring single in the eighth off Erasmo Ramirez.

Holland (1-0) permitted two runs and five hits in 7.1 innings, fanned eight and walked none. Holland extended a scoreless streak by Texas starters to 22.2 innings before Alex Liddi’s RBI single in the sixth. Kyle Seager contributed a 438-foot homer into the right-field upper deck in the seventh.

Holland, 25, improved to 6-1 in his career against Seattle with a 3.07 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 55.2 innings.

Seattle starter Jason Vargas worked 6.2 innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits. He struck out six, walked one and threw 93 pitches, 63 for strikes.

AL WEST STANDINGS

Team W L Pct. GB Home Road Last 10 Streak
Rangers 5 2 .714 5-2 0-0 5-2 Won 1
Mariners 4 4 .500 1.5 0-0 4-4 4-4 Lost 1
Athletics 3 4 .429 2.0 2-4 1-0 3-4 Won 1
Angels 2 4 .333 2.5 1-2 1-2 2-4 Lost 2

MARINERS / STATS NOTES

  • The Mariners, 1-3 this year, are 3-13 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington since the start of the 2011 season.
  • Seattle’s bullpen has given up eight homers in eight games after leading the AL with just 32 allowed last season.
  • Thursday marked the first game of the season in which the Mariners faced a left-handed pitcher (Derek Holland).
  • Manager Erik Wedge made several lineup changes in order to contest Holland. Wedge started righties Alex Liddi and Casper Wells, while resting Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders. Liddi and Wells went a combined 1-for-7 with four whiffs.
  • Kyle Seager

    Kyle Seager’s HR marked his first of the season and the fourth for the Mariners in eight games.

    The Mariners went 2-for-7 with men in scoring position and left five men on base.

  • Through eight games, the Mariners are batting 19-for-60 (.316) with runners in scoring position.
  • In the four games in Texas, Seattle’s designated thumpers, Justin Smoak and Jesus Montero, combined to drive in one run (Montero) and strike out seven times.
  • Seager is Seattle’s leading hitter with a .321 batting average and an .845 OPS.
  • Smoak is batting .212 and leads the club with nine strikeouts.
  • Ichiro (.303 BA) has banged into a team-high two double plays.
  • The Mariners have had double figures in base hits in four games.
  • Ichiro (1-for-4 Thursday) has 223rd career game with three or more hits, which ranks third among active players, trailing only Derek Jeter (265) and Alex Rodriguez (231), both of whom started their careers four years before Ichiro. Ichiro’s 753 multi-hit games rank fourth among active players, and No. 1 since his debut in 2001). Ichiro’s 47 games with four or more hits leads all active players.
  • Ichiro (3) and Kyle Seager (3) lead the Mariners in multi-hit games, Chone Figgins leads in multi-RBI games (2) and Seager leads in two-out RBIs (3).
  • Have left 47 men on base, their opponents 48.
  • Have been outscored, 35-31.
  • Expect OF Franklin Gutierrez (torn pectoral muscle) during the second week of May.
  • When the Mariners batted around April 7-9, it marked the first time since Aug. 18-19, 2007 that they had batted around in consecutive games. Mariners have not batted around in three consecutive games since April 13-16, 2002.
  • Jesus Montero has started six games at DH. The franchise record for starts by a rookie DH is 52, set by Juan Bernhardt in the Mariners inaugural year, 1977.
  • 18 of the Mariners first 27 games 2012 are the road (and 28 of first 43). The Mariners will have logged eight road games before playing at Safeco Field.
  • According to Stats Inc., the Mariners had an average age of 28.33 when the Opening Day rosters were set, the second-youngest American League roster and the fourth-youngest in the majors.
  • The Mariners roster features 7 rookies: RHP Steve Delabar, RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, LHP Lucas Luetge, RHP Erasmo Ramirez, C/ DH Jesus Montero, INF Alex Liddi and INF Munenori Kawasaki. Last season the Mariners used 18 rookies, and had a club-record 12 players make their MLB debuts.
  • According to The Associated Press, the Mariners have the 18th-highest payroll in the majors, at just under $82 million. That’s down from $94 million in 2011. Of the $82 million, Felix Hernandez, Ichiro, Chone Figgins, Franklin Gutierrez and Brandon League take up slightly more than $58 million of that total (the Yankees have baseball’s top payroll for the 14th consecutive year, $198 million).

MARINERS WON-LOSS BREAKDOWN

Rec. Home Road Day Night vs. RHP vs. LHP Hit HR No HR
4-4 0-0 4-4 0-1 4-3 4-3 0-1 2-2 2-2

MARINERS BATTING PROFILE

Avg. Home Road R HR OBP SLG OPS RISP
.259 .000 .259 28 4 .293 .364 .657 .316

MARINERS PITCHING PROFILE

Rec. ERA IP R ER HR BA OBP SLG
4-4 4.35 62.0 30 30 12 .242 .291 .433

PROBABLE PITCHERS

Date Day Opp. Probable Pitchers
4/13 Fri vs. Oak Hernandez (1-0, 4.40) vs. Colon (1-1, 5.84)
4/14 Sat vs. Oak Noesi (0-1, 21.00) vs. Milone (1-0, 0.00)
4/15 Sun vs. Oak Beavan (0-1, 1.42) vs. Godfrey (0-1, 3.00)
4/17 Tue vs. Clev Millwood (0-0, 1.50) vs. Masterson (0-1, 2.77)
4/18 Wed vs. Clev Vargas (1-1, 3.44) vs. Lowe (1-0, 0.00)
4/19 Thr vs. Clev Fernandez (Friday) vs. Tomlin (0-1, 7.20)

MARINERS 2012 SCHEDULE/RESULTS

March

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)
2 3/29 at Oak L, 4-1 1-1 W: Colon (1-0); L: Kelley (0-1)

April

Gm. # Date Opp. W/L Rec. Win / Loss
3 4/6 at Oak W, 7-3 2-1 W: Vargas (1-0); L: McCarthy (0-1)
4 4/7 at Oak W, 8-7 3-1 W: Hernandez (1-0); L: Colon (1-1)
5 4/9 at Tex L, 11-5 3-2 W: Darvish (1-0); L: Noesi (0-1)
6 4/10 at Tex L, 1-0 3-3 W: Feliz (1-0); L: Beavan (0-1)
7 4/11 at Tex W, 4-3 4-3 W: Luetge (1-0); L: Nathan (0-2)
8 4/12 at Tex L, 5-3 4-4 W: Holland (1-0); L: Vargas (1-1
9 4/13 vs OaK
10 4/14 vs. Oak
11 4/15 vs. Oak
12 4/17 vs. Cle
13 4/18 vs. Cle
14 4/19 vs. Cle
15 4/20 vs. CWS
16 4/21 vs. CWS
17 4/22 vs. CWS
18 4/24 at Det
19 4/25 at Det
20 4/26 at Det
21 4/27 at Tor
22 4/28 at Tor
23 4/29 at Tor
24 4/30 at TB

YourThoughts

  • Jamo57

    Any story with a headline that paraphrases the Grateful Dead gets a positive comment in my book!

    Thumbs up!

  • Jamo57

    Any story with a headline that paraphrases the Grateful Dead gets a positive comment in my book!

    Thumbs up!

  • RadioGuy

    So maybe the appropriate comment on the M’s early season might be that “the first days are the hardest days…”

    • Jamo57

      Or,

      ‘Goin home, goin home
      By the waterside I will rest my bones’

  • RadioGuy

    So maybe the appropriate comment on the M’s early season might be that “the first days are the hardest days…”

    • Jamo57

      Or,

      ‘Goin home, goin home
      By the waterside I will rest my bones’

  • jafabian

    I agree that the Huskies should have made the NCAA tourney, but the fact that they didn’t lies with the team and not the NCAA.  In fact, IMO they should have won the NIT.  I wonder if what Calipari accomplished this season with such a young roster puts more pressure on other coaches in Division I?  Especially when you have success in recruiting quality players like what Romar usually has?

    • Artthiel

      Calipari’s factory is unsurpassed, and I don’t think Romar or most  Washington fans would care to emulate. The pressure on D-1 coaches goes up a little bit every year, as the money grows. I’d rather be a spokesman for the tobacco for tots campaign than a D-1 hoops or fb coach.

  • MyUghMy

    UW basketball is just a sad extension of the NBA. No team, no fundamentals no real fan outcry for more than we have been given. Just look at Wroten and how he used the UW to catapul himself to a high paying job. My main case in point is that mind bending over the head no look baseline shot(?) that screamed “look at me and draft me”. UW basketball is hard to watch and the fans lapping up mediocrity at best play is a huge part of the problem. Of course I lay all the blame on Romar but in Seattle just uttering this may get me purple hazed.

    • Artthiel

       I have no problem with players using college ball to further themselves, because college ball typically will use them and not care about consequences.

       Romar isn’t a perfect coach, but neither is Roy Williams. Romar has had as much sustained success as anyone in UW history as well as among his Pac-12 contemporaries. Something tells me that if Scott Suggs had been healthy, the year would have worked out much better, because he would have been a better contributor than Wroten — not a better player, a better contributor.

    • GS

      You’re being very unfair to Romar. Throughout his tenure at UW he’s managed to get some great players to buy into his system and his philosophy, and play team ball. I’ve been watching the Huskies for a long time now, and most years they play unselfishly and together, without necessarily sacrificing individual players’ talent. This is especially apparent on defense, which in Romar’s system is entirely dependent on team play: his aggressive front-and-help approach requires all players to be aware of their teammates and opponents, help quickly, and trust their teammates to do the same.

      Admittedly, last season was an aberration, mostly because there were so many new players. Wroten did nothing to help, too: he’s a pretty selfish player on both sides of the ball, regardless of his flashy passes and steals. However, don’t let that make you forget his past achievements.

  • RadioGuy

    You pretty much nailed it, Art.  Wroten is a genuine talent but he’s ALWAYS been about himself…from transferring to Garfield from Renton (guess those “friendships” he had with classmates in Renton weren’t worth much) to bogus Spanish classes to his one-and-done year at the UW that was basically a 3-4 month showcase for the NBA.

    It’ll be interesting to see if Lionel Hollins is as much of a marshmallow as Lorenzo Romar because I don’t think Tony’s ever had a coach that didn’t kiss his coattails or expected him to play for his team instead of playing for a future paycheck.  Darnell Gant will be missed a LOT more than Tony because Darnell was about the team.

    • Artthiel

      I don’t think Romar was a marshmallow. It’s a fine line drawing out an immature but immensely talented kid. The Huskies desperately needed his playmaking because aside from Ross, they were ordinary even in a sub-ordinary Pac-12. If Romar were really soft, he would have started him with the season opener, and wouldn’t have benched him to start the second half in NY in the NIT semis.

  • Tim

    Lighten the hell up Radright or go troll in other waters.     You obviously have no sense of humor which isn’t a surprise given your handle.

    Thanks Art!  Love your writing as always!

    • Artthiel

      He types, therefore he be.

  • Tian Biao

    Art, you must wonder about some of these reader responses. It’s like, they haven’t even read the article before they start ranting away in the comment section. weird. 

    • Artthiel

      Life in the interwebs, Tian. No IQ test required to play. Like Wheel of Fortune.

  • RadioGuy

    Anything done in preseason should be taken with a grain of salt, but I was glad to see Matt Flynn step in and have a solid night (even though it was against a second-rate team like Oakland).  Wilson has won the starting berth fair and square, but it wasn’t because Flynn had played poorly…Russ brings a certain dynamic to the game that Matt doesn’t yet.

    At any rate, a win’s a win (even if it doesn’t count) and the table’s been set for a potentially very good regular season.  The NFC West is definitely winnable.

    • Artthiel

       Wilson has yet to experience a pro D that schemes against him. Obviously, the book on him is small, but it’s not like he’s playing a different game than most mobile quarterbacks. It’s a matter of the right blend of protection and play calls that give him the highest chance for first-game success. And Arizona seems like a team in sufficient disarray that would help Wilson’s first outing.

  • Gonzo

    woo hoo we’re AFC West Champs…or something…

  • Jamo57

    Speaking of the black holes of the Seahawks QB universe and epochal history, wouldn’t Russell Wilson be well served to ditch the number 3 (that of previous rookie starting quarterback Rick Mirer) and go back to his UW Badger number of 16 now that cutdowns are complete?

    At least those of us who see karma as a universal force also would think it prudent.

  • Max

    It exciting to see the potential here. I’m tempering my enthusiasm but these guys could bring something to the party this year. Great article as always, Art.

  • Fussellian

    Yeah, why would Art report on the most recent Seahawk game? What’s that about?

  • Artthiel

    Thanks for the breaking news, radright. No one knew that about the fourth X game. Wonder why they played it.