So, the Mariners lost. You know, whatever. The team has won every single Opening Day since 2007, which was nearly ten years ago. During that time we've had two-and-a-half presidential elections, a Phillies World Series victory, like, at least three reboots of the Spider-Man film franchise, and your roof probably needs replacing, you should get to that, what are you thinking? This website was something like two years old, and Richie Sexson had yet to undergo a terrifyingly abysmal slump which would one day be iconified into the logo you see up in the top left hand corner of your screen. I mean, dang.
Think about that. All those things are ancient history, during which the Mariners have spent nearly every single day just being downright awful. Fucking awful (Now that I got that out of the way, feel free to email me at email@example.com to complain about my bad language and welcome to lookout landing dot com and the 2016 Major League Baseball season. Let's do this, friends). So today's loss was kind of a bummer, but also whatever, because some good things happened too. So let's get to it!
First things first. The Mariners opened their season by watching Cole Hamels throw six pitches to notch two quick outs. Up walked Robinson Cano, who was if you remember, "the worst player" who "couldn't get a hit when it mattered," and was also by all external accounts singularly responsible for torpedoing what was going to be the Mariners' best season in 14 years with an albatross of a contract which was ready to sink an entire franchise and its foolish monied powers, why are we even watching, let's all jump in the river, etc.
Well, today Robinson Cano came up to bat and he put a ball right here:
haha nah, that's wrong, he put the ball here:
No, wait, still wrong. God, nihilism withdrawals will get you with this team. Look, it actually landed...here:
The ball left his bat at approx 110 mph, he only hit four balls harder last year. Kyle Seager, our resident Ranger Killer, followed Cano an inning later with a solo blast of his own, but the real fun part is that 1. Cano hit this ball in the exact same spot in the exact same stadium as his first home run as a Mariner back in 2014, which means that 2. Robinson Cano is back. This is good. Now for the strange stuff.
Felix was...well...Felix was something today. Speaking of a nine-year era featuring Opening Day wins and September stumbles finish line stumbles, it seems almost all too obvious to note that we've entered a new era of the King's rule--one we knew was someday around the corner of a ten-year career in which "someday" always meant tomorrow, not today. And that is that Felix, future Hall of Famer and All Star ace, is starting to get old. And all we can do is sit back and watch.
Felix threw 93 pitches in six innings today. It may only be the first game of the season, but his 90 mph fastballs all but continue the trend we've been watching since he first came out of the gate as a pudgy teenager throwing cheese that would land you in jail if you drove it on the highway. Of course, the great news is that his velocity decline is by no means a new thing. I'm going on my fourth year writing about the Seattle Mariners, and even back when I started, years after what may arguably be his prime, Felix was already almost exclusively throwing junk for eight-pitch ABs by the middle of the sixth inning. In this sense, he's just doing what he has always done--standing on his pride and working harder than he needs to to get the right thing done, even if his arm falls off in the process. But also, well, sometimes you wake up with a grey hair on your ass and there's nothing you can do about it.
How this worked out today was, well...bizarre. Felix was carrying a no-hitter into the middle of the fifth inning. I mean, I just spent a paragraph talking eschatology and then led into that! He departed after six after striking out as many with only a single hit, but in the process he walked five batters, including one for a run during a disastrous fifth inning aided by two untimely errors from Kyle Seager and Ketel Marte in the process. It will go down as the first Opening Day he's lost in years, and while he's certainly not the pitcher that won the Cy Young over half a decade ago, he ain't CC Sabathia, either. Take a deep breath, drink a beer or two, and let's wait to make any totalizing declarations until we have ourselves a 17 game losing streak on our hands.
Now despite the disastrous fifth today, the real rough part came from what appeared to be Scott Servais' first contentious decision with the lineup card. After Felix threw his final pitches in the sixth, the M's came out careful in the seventh with a tiring Cole Hamels and a rejuvenated Marvel Comics hero Franklin Gutierrez earning a walk on six pitches. Adam Lind, owner of a .213 average against left handed pitching, was left in the game to face the Rangers' new ace. He mashed a few buttons on a Super Nintendo controller jammed into the back of a PS4, and what happened was exactly what you expected:
After this, Chris Iannetta sent Guti to second on a single. AND THEN Servais decided to lose his centerfielder by pinch hitting Dae-Ho Lee to earn the Mariners their second out of the inning, who should have been hitting behind Franklin Gutierrez in the first place.
In the matter of a few seconds, the Mariners basically let Lind give an out away, then lost their centerfielder for what could have possibly been an important defensive final inning. Servais was probably anxious about putting three righties in a row at this point, but the truth of the matter is that it was the eighth inning of the first game of his career, and we have a long way to go before we can decide what any of this means. If you don't like that then please go watch Eric Wedge start Miguel Olivo, Chone Figgins, Milton Bradley, Justin Smoak, Eric Thames, or anyone else that you've tried to pretend never played for this team.
The M's send Kuma to the mound to take on Martin Perez tomorrow, and it will be as good a time as any to pretend we're having Opening Day II: Electric Boogaloo. As always, and until then, goms.