The Seattle Mariners struggled mightily against the Texas Rangers in 2011 dropping 15 of 19 games. In their first series against the Rangers in 2012, Mariner fans were treated to more of the same. The good news was that after an 11-5 bashing on Monday night, the other two losses to Texas were by one and two runs respectively. And, Seattle rallied from down 3-0 to take yesterday’s game 4-3. After dropping three of four in Arlington, the Mariners finally return home for their season opener tomorrow at .500 on the season, 4-4.
Good News. The good news is that it wasn’t a sweep. The Mariners showed some great clutch hitting in rallying from down 3-0 to salvage Wednesday’s game. John Jaso made the most of his first start as a Mariner. Jaso tripled and scored to start the Mariner scoring in the eighth inning, and then he knocked in the game-winning run in the ninth. Kevin Millwood also had an impressive debut for the Mariners on Wednesday. Even though it was a no-decision, Millwood went six innings giving up four hits and one earned run while striking out seven. Blake Beavan, who won the No. 4 spot in the rotation in the Spring, was also strong in his 2012 Mariner debut on Tuesday but was on the wrong end of a 1-0 Ranger victory. Beavan allowed six hits and one earned run in 6.1 IP. Starting pitching was the main strength of the Mariners last season, and Millwood and Beavan looked great against a powerful Ranger offense in Arlington adding to what Vargas and Hernandez can give to Seattle this year.
Bad News. The Mariners jumped all over Yu Darvish in his MLB debut on Monday, but 4-0 and 5-2 leads eventually turned into an 11-5 loss. Hector Noesi, who came over from the Yankees in the Pineda deal, struggled against Texas on Monday giving up seven earned runs and six hits in three innings pitched. George Sherrill was also roughed up Monday, and the lefty continues to struggle in his return to Seattle. He has given up 2 home runs out of the bullpen and has an ERA of 27.00 with a WHIP of 5.25. Miguel Olivo did add an RBI double in the ninth inning of a 5-3 loss on Thursday, but he’s gotten off to a slow start for Seattle this season. He’s batting .143, the lowest of any Mariner starter. The Mariner offense, even though shut out once in this series, does deserve credit for being more productive. After the first two games in Tokyo, only two Mariners batted over .200. Now three starters are over .300, with Kyle Seager batting .321 and Chone Figgins and Ichiro both hitting .303.
The Horizon. Seattle will finally return home after Spring Training in Arizona, a trip to Tokyo, and trips to Oakland and Texas. After the unfavorable road trip to start the year, Seattle is 4-4, trailing only Texas (5-2) in the A.L. West. The Mariners will welcome in Oakland for three, and they will have staff ace Felix Hernandez going in the Safeco Field opener. In a weird twist, Hernandez will be facing Oakland for the third time in the season already. Hector Noesi will look to bounce back from a rough Mariner debut on Saturday, and Blake Beavan will look for some run support after losing 1-0 on Tuesday in the series finale. It will be Noesi and Beavan’s first outings against Oakland this season.