FAST START: The Seattle Mariners opened 2014 with a bang sweeping the Anaheim Angels and ending their season opening road trip 4-2 against two A.L. West rivals. After the Angels sweep, the Mariners dropped two of three games in Oakland with Friday’s game being postponed due to rain; they were scheduled to play four in Oakland. Even with losing the last series, the Mariners have been in first place in the A.L. West every day of this young season. And, sure, that’s not a huge accomplishment one week in, but it is a step in the right direction for a team trying to turn the corner.
STAR POWER: Robinson Cano is now The Man for Seattle, the leader on offense, and he didn’t disappoint. Cano leads the Mariners in batting average posting a .391 average so far (9-for-23). His OBP is at .500, thanks to five walks. The only down categories so far are his power numbers: 0 HR and 2 RBI through the first seven games. But, Cano has performed well so far. The star for the pitching staff, ace Felix Hernandez, did not disappoint in the Opening Week. Hernandez won both of his starts, beating the Angels on Opening Day and the A’s on Saturday. Hernandez posted a 1.88 ERA while striking out nineteen batters in 14.1 IP. The entire pitching staff fell in line with Felix setting a club record by holding their opponents to three runs or less in their first five games. The streak was snapped yesterday in Oakland’s 6-3 win.
QUESTION MARKS: The Seattle rotation had a lot of question marks in the early season due to injuries, but James Paxton and Roenis Elias both pitched well in their first starts of the season. Paxton threw seven shutout innings against the Angels in Anaheim to finish the sweep of the Angels on Wednesday night. Elias, who had never pitched above Double A until Thursday, allowed two hits and one earned run against the A’s in five innings pitched. Veteran Chris Young, who was named the team’s fifth starter despite not pitching for Seattle this spring, made his Mariners’ debut on Sunday in long relief. His start was skipped because of the rainout Probably the most surprising development of the first week for Mariners fans was the slow start of Kyle Seager. Seager struggled at the plate going 2-for-18 on the road trip posting a .111 batting average. New Mariner acquisitions Corey Hart and Logan Morrison joined Seager starting slowly. Hart went 3-for-18 (.167) with 1 HR and Morrison went 2-for-13 (.154). They’ll try to get on track at Safeco Field as the Mariners next five games are at home.
ROSTER MOVES: The Mariners lost a couple of players to waivers at the beginning of the week while making changes to the 40-man roster. SS Carlos Triunfel was claimed by the Dodgers, and RP Bobby LaFromboise was claimed by the San Diego Padres. Triunfel had appeared in twenty-seven games for Seattle over the last two seasons posting a career average of .167, and LaFromboise was called up to the bullpen last season going 0-1 with a 5.91 ERA in ten appearances. Seattle made a bigger splash later in the week designating Hector Noesi for assignment. Despite some solid long relief work last season, Noesi never clicked long term for Seattle, and he posted a 27.00 ERA this season along with giving up the game-winning home run to Coco Crisp on Thursday. With Seattle in three seasons, Noesi went 2-14 with a 6.13 ERA. Noesi came over with Jesus Montero in the trade that sent Michael Pineda to the New York Yankees. It looks like this trade is going to end up being a win for the Yankees as Noesi is done in Seattle, and I think it is unlikely the Mariners recall Montero from the minors this season.