In all of Major League Baseball, only two teams played seven games in the first seven days of the season: the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners. And, unlike the A’s, the Mariners played all seven on the road. So, after this quirk, where did the Mariners stand after a trip to Chicago? The Mariners won Friday in extra innings, and then followed that with some heartbreak dropping two one-run games continuing their recent problems with the Sox. Seattle stands at 3-4 going into their home opener tonight against the Houston Astros.
Gritty Opening Win. The series started with a bang. The Mariners jumped out to a 6-1 lead then had to hang on for an 8-7 win in 10 innings. The offense got off to a great start in U.S. Cellular Field led by Franklin Gutierrez’s 3-for-5 night with a HR and 3 RBI. Seattle struggled producing in clutch situations last season, but Kendrys Morales hit a RBI double and Jesus Montero added an RBI single to push the Mariners ahead 8-6 in the 10th. Tom Wilhelmsen struggled in the 10th surrendering three walks but dug deep to strike out Tyler Flowers to preserve the 8-7 win and earn his second save on the season.
4-3 Unkind. The Mariners probably don’t want to see any 4-3 games for a while, as the White Sox won Saturday and Sunday by that score. Chicago got to Felix Hernandez on Saturday touching up the Seattle ace for 4 ER and 6 hits in 6.1 IP giving Hernandez his first loss of the season. On Sunday, Hisashi Iwakuma had his second straight strong start of the season, allowing only 4 hits in 8.0 IP. However, two were Home Runs and he left the game tied at 3. The Mariners pushed the Sox to extra innings for the second time in the series, but Dayan Viciedo hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning off Kameron Loe, who won Friday’s game, to give the White Sox the game and the series.
Hot/Cold. The Seattle offense has hit 7 HR already in the first week, good enough for 4th in the American League. Michael Morse had a two-run HR Sunday to push his total to 5, leading the American League. Franklin Gutierrez is batting .304 on the young season going 3-for-11 in the Chicago series. Kendrys Morales had the game-winning hit Friday and pushed his average to .280 going 6-for-13. He also added his first HR as a Mariner on Sunday. Dustin Ackley didn’t start Sunday for the Mariners as he fell to 1-for-20 on the season with a 0-for-8 series in Chicago. Jesus Montero, taking over the main catching duties in Seattle with the departure of Miguel Olivo, went 1-for-10 for the series and is under .200 so far, batting .182.
Here Come the Astros. The Mariners open up their first home stand with three games against their new A.L. West foes, the Houston Astros. Joe Saunders, Brandon Maurer, and Blake Beavan all looked a little shaky in their season debuts but they will have a chance to right the ship against the 1-5 Astros. Houston has lost five in a row since taking their season opener: two to Texas and three to the Mariner’s season opening opponent, the A’s. Houston was shut out twice by Texas and outscored in three games against Oakland 23-9. This will be Houston’s first road trip of the season.