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Mariners Ruin Someone Else’s Home Opener for a Change

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Mariners rack up 12 hits, cause shrugging of shoulders all across Northern California

Seattle Mariners v San Francisco Giants
when others zig, he zags
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

This team can hit.

I like to refer to the 2008-2013 Mariners seasons as the Millennial Deadball Era at Safeco Field. Pitching flourished and hitters drove themselves mad with flyouts to the warning track. In comparison to so many of the lineups we saw throughout those seasons (washed up Adam Kennedy, clean-up hitter, etc), I truly find this current lineup inspiring and refreshing. The batting lineups have been trending upwards since 2014 for the Mariners and with the moved-in fences at Safeco and juicing of the baseballs across the league, it appears the Mariners may truly have the right lineup at the right time.

Oh right, it’s only four games into the season. Yes, yes, small sample size. Well, anyways, 3-1 is a hell of a lot more fun than how the team began the 2017 season.

The First Inning of DOOM

The Mariners absolutely lit into Giants starter Ty Blach in the first inning. Dee Gordon led off with a ground ball single that shortstop Brandon Crawford tried to rush and booted. Jean Segura promptly laid down this beauty of a bunt single.

#BuntPorn

Robinson Cano worked a full count walk to load the bases for Good Boy Mitch Haniger, who is just lighting the world on fire so far. GBHM cranked a two-run single that included Gordon taking the liberty to wave Segura in himself.

bring ‘em home!

The notorious slow starter Kyle Seager himself checked in with his first of two hits today to score Cano. Next up, Ryon Healy cracked his first hit and RBI as a Mariner as Haniger scored, but then Seager had his textbook-overrun-second-base TOOTBLAN and there was one out. 4 runs and just 1 out, though, that sure is fun! TOOTBLANS, less so.

aw shucks guys

After that, Guillermo Heredia beat out a double play for a fielder’s choice and then David Freitas did Marco Gonzales a solid and ended the inning with a ground ball so that Gonzales didn’t have to bat before throwing a single pitch (shakes head at entire National League rule structure). What a nice battery mate. And so ended Ty Blach’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad first inning.

Marco Gonzales, Pretty Good!

The fate of the Mariners rotation hinges in no small way on Gonzales having a solid-to-good season. He took a first very positive step in that direction as he mostly surrendered light contact outside of two home runs and kept many batters off-balance by working in his slider and cutter. Through 6.1 innings he only struck out two batters, but walked no one. Here’s strikeout victim number one, Hunter Pence:

And here is strikeout victim number two, Andrew McCutchen:

marco here with utterly no respect for his elders

Gonzales left a few meatballs hanging right in the middle of the plate, though, like this one that even Evan Longoria could easily deposit into the stands for his first home run of the season. All things considered, it was a very encouraging start for Gonzales.

whoopsadoodle

Robinson Cano, Really Good!

Oh yeah, by the way, the aging-yet-perennial-All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano is having a lightning fast start to his 2018 season and is currently rocking a .214 ISO. Cano hit a RBI double in the fifth inning that put him ahead of Edgar Martinez on the all-time doubles list with 515 two-baggers. Really good!

The Dee Gordon Highlight Reel Section

Dee Gordon was at it again today, folks. A god dang walking highlight reel, that guy. Here’s a fairly casual catch at the wall in the fourth inning.

Gordon had a classic slap single just over the shortstop in the eighth inning.

Dee Slap, ENGAGE

And he followed that up by breaking the sound barrier on his second steal of the game (and season).

byeeeeee

And then there was this fun little terrifying play where Gordon asserted his dominance as apex fly ball predator of the outfield. Sorry, Guillermo.

/tugs at collar

Edwin In, Game Over

Are we witnessing the true return of 2016 scary and dominant Edwin Diaz instead of just scary 2017 Edwin Diaz? Who knows! But, through three saves, Diaz is running a 24 K/9 rate and has a -0.48 FIP/xFIP. Yowza.

Here is Diaz just annihilating Hunter Pence with 98-mile-per-hour heat, which prompted Dave Sims to blurt out, “PENCE, SOME BENCH!”

And he got some help from Jean Segura on the final out with this excellent over-the-shoulder catch.

Outfield hugs for all! Well, not for the Giants. Only winners get outfield hugs.


Felix Hernandez faces off against Johnny Cueto tomorrow at the truly perplexing 4:15 PM West Coast start time. Go Mariners!