Opening day . . . sigh

Cano homers opening day
Cano goes yard in his first at-bat.  Photo from mlb.com

The M’s opened  at the Ballpark in Arlington today.  I wish there was good news to report. The M’s lost to the Rangers 3-2.  Kind of a strange day and kind of a strange game. Back to school today, so no radio or television for me. All I could do was steal glimpses on Gameday in between discussion of the loneliest character in Of Mice and Men. Before our disagreement between the Crooks faction and those who believed it was Curley’s wife (she has no name, you can look it up,) the Mariners were leading on a pair of home runs by Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager.  By the time we were done, the M’s were down 3-2, which is how it ended.

The Good

Dingers

Cano and Seager both homered, both solo shots.  And that’s good because there simply weren’t many hits falling from the trees for either team today.  Cano laid down his marker in his first at-bat with an emphatic STFU to the baseball press who have suggested his skills at the advanced age of 33 are on the decline.

Bafflement

Yes, bafflement is a real word.  And that’s what starter Felix Hernandez and reliever Mike Montgomery caused in the Rangers lineup.  Only one hit allowed and ten strikeouts.  If Mariners pitching can do that regularly we’d be talking about a lot of wins.

Mike Montgomery

Montgomery pitched two innings of relief allowing a walk and no hits while striking out four. Pretty good line for a guy who went in to Spring Training trying to win a starting gig. Hopefully the start of something big for the big left-hander and some confidence-building for the bullpen.

The Bad

Walks

The King allowed five walks, Montgomery one.  Three came in the climactic fifth inning when the Texans scored all their runs off Felix.  Extra base-runners mean too much pressure on defenders to be perfect.  They extend innings.  This can’t happen. Well, maybe if you’re Randy Johnson, but no.

Errors

It seemed like there were a lot of defensive lapses during Spring Training, but today there were two in one inning, with Seager and Marte both allowing extra outs and extra base runners in the fifth inning.  Two errors, three walks and Prince Fielder’s base hit combined to sink the M’s for all three Texas runs.

Where’s the offense?

I was disappointed the Mariners only scored on a pair of solo home runs.  Cole Hamels is a good pitcher,  I get that.  But only four hits paired with 11 strike outs by Ranger pitching, didn’t allow much of a margin for pitching or fielding mistakes.  Unfortunately there were too many of those. Hopefully we’ll see more guys work their way on base, and see some of that speed on the basepaths.  It felt a little like JackieZball today.

Let’s do it again tomorrow.  Later start time so I’ll get to see on the tube.

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