As I walked out of the game last night, I stepped on some of the thousands of pieces of blue and silver confetti that had been fired off to celebrate the opening of the gates, now torn and dirtied and crushed beneath the feet of 47,000 people. It was melancholy, filing out along with all the other Mariners fans, jerseys unbuttoned and hats askew, but as I crossed the bridge towards the light rail someone ahead of me started up a cheer: DAAAAAAAE HOOOOOOOO. And the crowd answered him back, as we had earlier that evening: DAAAAE HOOOOOOOOOO. As a Mariners fan--as a baseball fan, really--you have to have a selective memory. You have to discard the ball stroked out to right field by Chris Coghlan and focus instead on the beatific smile on Dae Ho Lee's face after he sent a moonshot to the Pen. You have to hold on to the good times. One of the reasons I prefer baseball to football is if your team suffers a loss in the opening game, you don't have to dwell on it for a week. You get up the next day, lace up your shoes again, kick that discarded confetti out of your way and return to the field.
Tonight we will see Nate Karns make his Safeco debut. Karns' spring ERA of 5.46 wasn't exactly sterling, but that number is largely influenced by a shaky start, after which he steadily improved. Expect to see a fair amount of ground ball outs tonight--over the spring his GB:FO ratio was 1.95--so hopefully the Mariners' infield is able to iron out their early-season hiccups. One thing I appreciate about Karns is he's an extremely thoughtful pitcher who puts a lot of time into analyzing his craft--if you have time, I'd suggest perusing some of his quotes on this excellent Fangraphs piece from late March.
Rich Hill will look to improve upon a rough debut with the A's, failing to make it out of the third inning after giving up four runs and hitting two batters. Tim Eckert-Fong has a great breakdown of what went wrong for Hill in that opening game here at Athletics Nation.
Another left-handed pitcher means Dae Ho Lee gets another start, which is certain to delight his ever-growing fan club. Gutierrez is in RF, not DH, so maybe that will be the mojo he needs to get his first hit of the season. Cano, Cruz and Seager went 1-for-12 last night, and the heart of the lineup will need to provide more of an offensive pop to avoid a repeat of last night's game.
- Athletics @ Mariners, 6:10 p.m., Safeco Field
- TV: ROOT sports; Radio: 710 ESPN; Online: MLBtv