Sunday, March 30, 2008

Series Preview: M's vs. Rangers, 3/31-4/2

The Texas Rangers come to Safeco Field for Seattle's home opener.

Projected Starters:
3/31 - Erik Bedard vs. Kevin Millwood
4/01 - Felix Hernandez vs. Vicente Padilla
4/02 - Carlos Silva vs. Jason Jennings

Keys to the Series:

Scoring off the starters: Millwood, Padilla and Jennings have all had flashes of brilliance at some point in their careers, but they have struggled in recent years and it is important for Seattle to score on them early in the games. Texas' bullpen is much more talented than their rotation, featuring former Japanese closer Kazuo Fukumori, one of the best setup men in the league in Joaquin Benoit, former Seattle closer "Everyday" Eddie Guardado, a young up-and-coming closer in C.J. Wilson and some capable arms in middle relief.

Neutralizing Texas' offense: While Bedard and Hernadez are one of the top 1-2 punches in the league, shutting down Texas' starting lineup is no easy task. 1-5 they'll be starting Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, Milton Bradley and Hank Blalock, a combination that will surely be one of the more productive 1-5s in the game by the end of the season. Hamilton, Bradley and Blalock are all 30 home run threats if they stay healthy, while Young is usually among the league leaders in hits and Kinsler is quickly becoming one of the best offensive second basemen in the league.

Saving the bullpen: Seattle's decision to go six in the bullpen rather than seven, paired with their decision to send rubber-armed reliever R.A. Dickey to AAA makes it more important than ever for Seattle's starters to go deep into the ballgames. Last season the bullpen was overworked early in the year causing most our relievers to fade during the final months. Ideally Seattle should want Bedard, Hernandez and Silva to get through six innings in their first starts of the season.

Getting off on the right foot: It's the first series of the year, and it's important for our players to get their seasons started on a positive note. Bedard and Ichiro Suzuki will look to rebound from a tough Spring Training, while Richie Sexson and Jose Lopez will look to rebound from awful 2007 campaigns. Raul Ibanez got off to a rough start last year before rebounding in the second half. If he can get off to a good start it will be a big help to the offense. Health early in the season will be important as well. Bedard has been somewhat injury prone throughout his career, Sexson was battling bursitis during Spring Training, Mark Lowe is coming off a major arm injury. Seattle has one of the top training staffs in all of baseball and injuries are rarely an issue. Let's keep it that way.

It's Opening Day! There are few regular season games as exciting as this one and I hope you can all watch it. Go Mariners!


Rob T. said...

Kinsler has the flu and won't be in the lineup today. Ramon Vasquez is taking his place and batting leadoff.

12 Ramon Vazquez 2B
10 Michael Young SS
32 Josh Hamilton CF
9 Hank Blalock 3B
21 Milton Bradley DH
22 Marlon Byrd RF
7 David Murphy LF
15 Gerald Laird C
23 Ben Broussard 1B

Brandon said...

I just read that kinsler made a miraculous recovery and is good to go tonight.
What do you guys wanna bet ben broussard gets at least 2 rbi tonight?

Anonymous said...

I think Bedard may have a rough couple of starts, but he's looking a lot better than he did in AZ.

topher said...

who caught the opening pitch niehaus threw out?

Anonymous said...

I believe it was Burke. I missed the Opening Ceremonies though, bummer. Saw Burke on the highlights.

Good game! First of many!

jp17 said...

Pretty sure that was Burke that caught the first pitch.

Good game. Strange to get snowed on with the roof closed on Opening Day.

Johnny B said...

They looked real good today. Especially every pitcher who threw today. Bedard was squeezed. Everybody else was awesome

drivindave said...

hey liked what I saw , I can see the serious potentail of Bedard really turning it up as the season goes on he just needs some more fine tuning and he's going to nail it. Looking forward to Tuesdays game with the King..I would really like to see Bedard and Felix try to out do each other man that would be fun!!
Hey the Angels lost too,off to a good start

Anonymous said...

2 strikeouts for Silva already? That must be a record! haha