Seattle almost pulled out a sloppy one today before J.J. Putz blew his first save of the year. Seeing J.J. let one slip through the cracks is one of the biggest letdowns us Mariner fans have after watching him dominate last season. I know it felt like he couldn't be stopped last year, and the two blown saves he did have devastating to watch. He's not going to have the year he did last year, but he should still be among the league's best. Knowing that doesn't make it any easier to watch Josh Hamilton take a Putz fastball deep into the right field seats.
A few observations from the first couple of ballgames:
- Our one-two punch of Erik Bedard and Felix Hernandez is going to be a lot of fun to watch, especially if they get some run support.
- I'm not yet sold on the 6-man bullpen, and I won't be until they prove they can remain effective with a heavy workload. Eric O'Flaherty, Mark Lowe and Putz all worked the first two ballgames of the year and none seemed as effective in their second outing. O'Flaherty shouldn't be pitching to so many righties if he is going to be made available every night to face the tough lefties in the opposition's lineup.
- So far, so good for Jose Lopez in the 2-hole. He's working the counts, moving runners over and may be able to keep the job if he stays focused.
- Jose Vidro is useless at the bottom of the lineup; give him a spot on the bench already!
- Brad Wilkerson is looking pretty ugly at the plate. Yes, it's only been two games, but when you're playing on a cheap one-year contract and the team has a guy like Wlad Balentien waiting in the wings, a slow start may not be the best way to go.
- Anyone else see how last year's boo-birds effected Richie Sexson? He looked like a dog with its' tail between his legs in the opener whenever he failed at the plate, and I really think he's putting a lot of pressure on himself. I hope he can bust out of it for his own sake.
- I was able to take naps between pitches whenever Vincente Padilla was pitching with runners on base.
- I love Yuni Betancourt. He's going to have a very nice year from the 9-hole.
- The way manager John McLaren utilizes his pinch runners is slightly baffling.
Overall I like what I see from our Mariners. Kevin Millwood and Vincente Padilla did a decent job of reminding everyone that they are healthy and can still be good pitchers, but hopefully Seattle can score on Jason Jennings early in tomorrow's ballgame.
What do you all like/dislike about our team so far after two games?