Opening Day wins are nothing new for the Seattle Mariners, having run off victories in their last seven openers.
In his first game since signing his seven-year, $175 million contract, Felix Hernandez dominated the Oakland Athletics. That said, the Mariners offense which crushed opposing pitchers throughout the Cactus League was disturbingly quiet for most of the game.
Although they had their chances, several of the teams new acquisitions fail to step up with runners on base and instead, the tenacity of Dustin Ackley and Brendan Ryan allowed Franklin Gutierrez to provide enough offense to secure the opener.
Felix dominating an opposing team is nothing new as he has shut down potential every time he takes the mound. The big concern for the Mariners will be the effectiveness of the new bats in the lineup such as Michael Morse and Kendry Morales, who were counted on to provide pop for a young and offensively-challenge lineup.
Morse managed a single, but that was pretty much it from the two of them as again more runs were at a premium. The Mariners are not going to be able to count on a shutout performance from Hernandez every time they take the field, and other starters are going to need 3 to 4 runs of support per game if the team is going to have a winning record in 2013.
I know one game does not make a season, but it was disturbing to see so many batters take called strikes or flail aimlessly at pitches after they had spent the spring setting a team record for home runs, wins, and offensive production.
With three more games against Oakland before returning to the newly reconfigured Safeco Field, Mariner fans are hoping to see an increase in offensive production, or else the team may be greeted with a sense of indifference upon their return to the Northwest after ownership had promised a vastly improved team this year.