The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics will meet on Opening Day for the fourth consecutive season on Monday. However, it won’t be as exciting as it was last year because they are not opening in Japan. The Mariners have won the previous three matchups even though they have all been on the road.
Felix Hernandez has never lost an Opening Day start and he will hope that he improves to 6-0 for his career on Monday. Hernandez was the highest paid pitcher in the MLB for about six weeks after he signed a seven-year $175 million contract. Hernandez has been dominant against Oakland in his career, recording 13 wins with a 2.82 ERA in 26 starts.
Brett Anderson will make his first career Opening Day start when he takes the hill on Monday night at the O.co Coliseum. Anderson battled with injuries in 2012 and missed out on most of the Oakland’s incredible playoff run, although he did defeat the Detroit Tigers in the American League Division Series. Anderson has had an incredible amount of success against the Mariners in his career, with a 7-3 record and a 1.76 ERA in 13 starts.
The Mariners have upgraded their lineup from last season with the acquisitions of Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse and Raul Ibanez. Hopefully this will help with the Mariners’ offense that has been anemic for the last couple of years.
Oakland has basically the same lineup that led them to an AL West division championship last year. The only significant player to leave was outfielder Jonny Gomes who signed with the Boston Red Sox over the winter. Yoenis Cespedes will look to start off his second season strong against the Mariners, a team he did very well against in 2012, hitting six of his 23 home runs.
Both Eric Wedge and Bob Melvin are quality mangers, and they were both recognized as Managers of the Year in 2007 (Wedge was with the Cleveland Indians, Melvin with the Arizona Diamondbacks). However, Melvin has a slight edge, with a 17-21 record against Wedge’s Mariners over the last two seasons.
As for a prediction, I would have to say the Felix Hernandez’s Opening day experience will prevail against a good Oakland lineup. The Mariners will give him three or four runs of support, which will be enough to win their fourth consecutive Opening Day game over the A’s.