Friday, April 1, 2011

Opening Night: Gimme an F

I love opening night, unless the M's get their collective butts embarrassingly kicked.  Didn't happen tonight in Oakland.  Yes, we all know the Mariners beat the A's 6-2 and that is certainly something to cheer.

Two of the best parts were performances by two F's: Felix and Figgins.  Felix was simply superhuman.  After battling with the strike zone and coughing up a first inning gopher ball to Cliff Pennington, Hernandez settled down to collect the win.  After the second inning, he was simply unhittable.  The A's threatened once in the 8th, but that was erased on a double play. Complete game victory, first game out of the gate. Figgins looked very comfortable at third, though he did boff a throw on the back end of a double play.  He also looked comfortable at the plate with a couple of hits, including the Mariners first (and only) home run of the season, equaling his total for last year.  Way to go Chone.

F is also for fun and there were definitely some things to cheer in this game.  The Mariners drew seven walks.  Justin Smoak hit a bolt for a double and later scored.  Brendan Ryan advanced to third on a blueprint perfect hit and run single by Jack Wilson, which wins my vote for prettiest play of the game.  The Mariner infield looked super.  Ichiro and Figgins swiped three bases. It was hilarious to watch the A's look a lot like, well, the 2010 version of the boys in blue.

 All was not perfect, however.  The Mariners scored so many runs because the A's pitchers were wild, and the A's infielders couldn't catch and throw the ball, making five errors.  In the second and third innings the Mariners had the bases loaded, but couldn't come up with a clutch hit to score runs. This could easily have been a 12-2 rout. 

This win was really a gift from an Oakland team that looked just plain terrible from starter Trevor Cahill on down to Kevin Kouzmanoff's consecutive clankers.  However, the most amazing play of the game in a Casey Stengel '62 Mets sort of head shaking way was Brad Ziegler's pickoff throw in the seventh.  It was about a ten yard spike job that rolled through all that Oakland foul territory to the wall.  Ziegler will be watching the film on that for a long time.

I'll be savoring this win, because who knows when the next one will come.

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