Felix Hernandez dominant in Opening Day win
It’s hard to outshine the #OpeningDay pitching performance of Felix Hernandez, but the Seattle Mariners did just that. It wasn’t what happened in their first win of the season, rather it is what happened before the players even took the field. The Mariners helped fulfill a wish for 12-year-old Jake Catterall, who suffered a stroke at birth, and he was the first person to run the neatly groomed base paths on Opening Day at Safeco Field in Seattle. Watching the crowd react to him rounding third base made me tear up, as I sat there in amazement at the raucous crowd cheering as if the Mariners had hit a home run.
It was something special.
Felix Hernandez was able to keep the crowd roaring throughout, as he pitched seven solid innings and only allowed one earned run, and struck out 10 Angels batters on the afternoon. This has been nothing new for Hernandez on Opening Day in his career. He is now 6-0 with a below-1.50 ERA and 65 strikeouts on Opening Day in his career, and his dominance was front-and-center today.
The offense provided more run support today than Felix Hernandez received in most of his starts last season, and that is a great sign for the Mariners in 2015. Newly acquired outfielder, Seth Smith, led the charge in today’s 4-1 victory, going 3 for 3 with two doubles, a triple, a run scored, and two RBIs. Dustin Ackley also added a solo home run for the Mariners.
Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz didn’t provide much offense on the day, but Mariners fans shouldn’t be too worried about that, especially if everyone else in the lineup steps up every game.
One of the biggest at-bats of the game came with the Mariners leading 4-1 in the eighth inning. Mike Trout was batting with two runners on base for the Angels, but pitcher Carson Smith blew him away with a 94-mph inside fastball to end the threat.
If Seattle can continue to play like they did on Opening Day, with players besides Cano and Cruz rising to the challenge, they will be the winners of the AL West.
I know it is only April, but they will also have a great chance of hoisting the World Series trophy above their heads in the fall, allowing Mariners fans around the world the opportunity to bask in all that is involved in rooting for a championship-winning team.
Dustin Brown covers the Seattle Mariners for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @SprtsWritingMan.