The Mariners, 67-95 in 2011, launch 2012 at the Tokyo Dome in Japan, taking on AL West rival Oakland in a two-game series. The Mariners open at home April 13.
GAME: Mariners (67-94, 4th AL West, -29.0 GB) at Athletics (74-88, 3rd AL West, – 22.0 GB). GAME #: 1. SERIES: 1st of 2 games. MEETING (2012): 1st. WHEN: Wednesday, 3:10 a.m. (PT), Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan. PROBABLE PITCHERS: RHP Felix Hernandez (Seattle, 14-4) vs. RHP Brandon McCarthy (Oakland, 9-9). STREAKS: Opening Day. TV: ROOT Sports, MLB TV. RADIO: KIRO 710 (Seattle), Mariners Radio Network).
Outscored 14-4 by the Hanshin Tigers (3-1) and Yomiuri Giants (9-3) in two exhibition mismatches in the Tokyo Dome, the Mariners will hand the ball to staff ace Felix Hernandez Wednesday in what will be the first of two Seattle chances to avoid going 0-for-Japan.
The Mariners and Oakland A’s launch their 2012 regular seasons with Hernandez, the 2010 American League Cy Young winner who went 14-14, 3.47 last year, contesting RHP Brandon McCarthy, who went 9-9, 3.32.
The Mariners and A’s are playing the first of two under the Tokyo Dome. Following the series, the Mariners will return to their Peoria, AZ., spring training headquarters and finish Cactus League play with five exhibition games. Seattle and Oakland resume their regular-season schedules Friday, April 6, in Oakland.
Following that two-game series with the Athletics, at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the Mariners play four on the road at Texas before their April 13 home opener, also against the Athletics.
The Mariners are coming off a 67-95 2011 season (last, AL West) in which their longest winning streak was six games (May 18-23) and their longest losing streak 17 (July 6-26).
The Mariners finished last in just about every major offensive category last season. The A’s went 74-88 in 2011 (3rd, AL West). Oakland is managed by Bob Melvin, who skippered the Mariners in 2003-04.
This marks the first of 19 games between the Mariners and Athletics in 2012. Seattle and Oakland also met 19 times in 2011, the Mariners winning 10, the A’s 9. The Athletics, however, outscored the plate-challenged Mariners in the season series 71 runs to 56.
The Mariners and A’s have met three times so far in spring training. The Mariners won 8-5 (March 8), lost 9-2 (March 3), and lost 6-1 (March 16).
The Mariners and Athletics had been scheduled to open the 2003 season in Japan, but the trip was cancelled the day after war broke out in Iraq.
OPENING DAY NOTES
TODAY’S PROBABLE PITCHERS
MARINERS: RHP Felix Hernandez (14-14, 3.47)
Hernandez opened last year with a 5-hit, 6-2, complete-game effort against the Oakland A’s, and went on to post 14 wins. But he ended the season sourly, losing his final three, one to the Yankees and a pair to Texas (he also lost his last spring training start — badly).
The Mariners posted a 17-16 record in Hernandez’s 33 appearances, largely because they scored an average of just 3.27 runs when he started.
This will mark Hernandez’s fifth Opening Day assignment. He went 3-0 with a no-decision in his first four with a 1.70 ERA and 27 strikeouts.
ATHLETICS: RHP Brandon McCarthy (9-9, 3.32)
Manager Bob Melvin (former Mariners skipper) made the announcement Feb. 28 that McCarthy would be his Opening Day starter, saying McCarthy was an easy choice based on last year’s results and trades that left the team without All-Stars Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill.
McCarthy had career highs in wins, starts, complete games, innings pitched and strikeouts in 2011.
He made 25 starts, and had 123 strikeouts in 170.2 IP. McCarthy also recorded a 4.92- to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the highest by an A’s pitcher since 1901; walked 25 batters.
PROJECTED BATTING ORDER
|Chone Figgins||3B||.188||1||Jemile Weeks||2B||.303|
|Dustin Ackley||2B||.273||2||Cliff Pennington||SS||.264|
|Ichiro Suzuki||RF||.272||3||Coco Crisp||LF||.264|
|Justin Smoak||1B||.234||4||Seth Smith||DH||.284|
|Jesus Montero||DH||.328||5||Yoenis Cespedes||CF||R|
|Mike Carp||LF||.276||6||Josh Reddick||RF||.280|
|Miguel Olivo||C||.224||7||Kurt Suzuki||C||.237|
|Michael Saunders||CF||.149||8||Brandon Allen||1B||.205|
|Brendan Ryan||SS||.248||9||Josh Donaldson||3B||.156|
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
MARINERS WON-LOSS BREAKDOWN (2011)
|Rec.||Home||Road||Day||Night||vs. RHP||vs. LHP||Hit HR||No HR|
|3/29||Fri||vs. Oak||Jason Vargas (10-13, 4.25) vs. Bartolo Colon (8-10, 4.00)|
|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|
|Gm. #||Date||Opp.||W/L||Score||Win / Loss|