Well here we are. After a thrilling season opening series in Texas, and an off day allowing us to almost certainly indulge in far too much hype and excitement, the Mariners will open their home schedule again Oakland, under a warm, blue sky.
The pitcher tonight is Taijuan Walker, arguably the best pitching prospect the Mariners have developed since Felix Hernandez himself. Walker's path to the major leagues has felt long and winding, but he is still only 23. After a disastrous start to last season Walker rebounded to post the following line over his final twenty starts:
There are too many homeruns, and Walker carved a lot of success over last year throwing with elite velocity at the top of the zone. He remains most likely an unfinished product. But 22 year old pitchers that spend two-thirds of a season putting up almost a 7/1 K/BB ratio are exciting. Pitchers with 98 MPH fastballs are exciting. Young players are exciting. This is Taijuan Walker, and when trying to dream impossible dreams about the 2016 Mariners his breakout is one of the easiest things to visualize.
The Mariners are facing another left-hander in Eric Surkamp, so we get the Dae-Ho Lee/Franklin Gutierrez platoon special. To pick nits I would put Marte far lower in this lineup, and Guti far higher. But we don't want to spend the home opener quibbling over lineup order. This is close to the best lineup the Mariners can throw out against a lefty.
The game will be sold out, the sun is shining, and it's Friday. No matter what happens the rest of the way, it should be one hell of a good time tonight for all in attendance. If you'r unable to attend ROOT sports and I believe Mariners.com will be broadcasting the opening ceremonies, roster introductions, various items of pomp live.
|OAKLAND A'S||SEATTLE MARINERS|
|Billy Burns - CF||Norichika Aoki - LF|
|Jed Lowrie - 2B||Ketel Marte - SS|
|Josh Reddick - DH||Robinson Cano - 2B|
|Danny Valencia - 3B||Nelson Cruz - RF|
|Stephen Vogt - C||Kyle Seager - 3B|
|Khris Davis - LF||Chris Iannetta - C|
|Chris Coghlan - RF||Franklin Gutierrez - DH|
|Yonder Alonso - 1B||Dae-Ho Lee - 1B|
|Marcus Semien - SS||Leonys Martin - CF|
|Eric Surkamp - LHP||Taijuan Walker - RHP|
- Athletics @ Mariners, 7:10 PM PDT, Safeco Field
- TV: ROOT, Radio: 710 ESPN, Online: MLBTV
Little catch between Nelson Cruz & Kyle Seager before full batting practice starts. pic.twitter.com/HZiTZMeb1K— Cale Ramaker (@CaleKIRO7) April 8, 2016
Win, you first place sittin', home run bashing, beautiful babies.