Game One Recap
I’d suggest that the M’s won that one for Dave, but he’s worthy of a better win than the one we just saw, so we’ll save that for when the team isn’t handed a gift by their opponents. We’ll just get this out of the way quickly so we can move on to the positives from an opening night victory for your first place Seattle Mariners – the A’s played as bad a baseball game as you can play. They were officially charged with five errors, and it probably should have been six, given Pennington’s lousy throw home on the Olivo collision play. That was a rather embarrassing defensive performance from Oakland tonight.
But, credit to the M’s, they took advantage of some of the opportunities they were given. After stranding a bunch of runners early, Ichiro had a classic Ichiro base hit to score Brendan Ryan (and he stole two bases), Jack Cust did what he does and drew a bunch of walks, Justin Smoak ripped a double into the gap (off a lefty, no less), and Chone Figgins hit a home run. The M’s got some help from the A”s, but they also created a few rallies.
It was frustrating early when they couldn’t get anyone in, but if you keep putting men on base, you’ll eventually come away with runs, and the M’s essentially won by attrition tonight. We know this team isn’t the ’27 Yankees, but if they can draw walks and get a few extra base hits per night, they’ll score enough runs to not be a laughing stock.
As for Felix, well, this is why he’s The King – that wasn’t his most dominating performance ever, but he knew he was going up against a mediocre line-up, so he pounded the strike zone and let them hit the ball right at his infielders. He pitched to contact because he could, and while he elevated a few fastballs early, he was able to get the groundouts he wanted for most of the game. You won’t look back at this start like his one-hitter in Boston, but it was an efficient, workman-like performance from a guy who has figured out how to pitch.
There will be nights when Felix needs to strike everyone out, or his stuff is so ridiculous that opposing hitters just can’t touch him. Tonight was not one of those nights, so instead, he just got a bunch of ground ball outs and took a complete game victory. That he can do stuff like this now is one of the reasons he’s so great – the strikeout ability is still there, but he also knows how to back off when facing a weaker offense, and that’s exactly what he did tonight.
Mature Felix is a lot of fun to root for. Long Live The Grownup King.