M's win their opener in encouraging fashion

With about 10 minutes to go until the NCAA championship game tips off, I thought I'd offer up a few observations on the Mariners' season-opening win.

(By the way, I apparently am in the minority in picking Ohio State; only one person out of about 25 consulted by ESPN -- Bobby Cremins -- actually picked the Buckeyes. And he did it because he thought they were "lucky." Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Anyway, back to baseball.)

You never want to read too much into one game in baseball, but today's game was encouraging.

The Mariners now have half as many wins against the A's this year as they had all of last year thanks to a dominating performance from Felix Hernandez. I won't say Hernandez's new physique was the cause for his eight-inning, 12 K, shutout performance, but a sleeker King gives me hope that performances such as this one can occur with some regularity.

The offense was so-so, but it did enough to win -- something that couldn't be said much of the time last year. On countless nights, the Mariners would be presented with a chance to break a game open, only to leave runner after runner in scoring position. Not so today, as a nice sac fly from Raul Ibanez and a three-run bomb by Richie Sexson were more than enough to put away the A's in one quick spurt.

Never mind the fact that the M's needed a big error from the A's to get it going. The fact that they actually made a team pay after an error makes me feel pretty good.

All in all, a nice start to the season for a team that desperately needs one.

No comments: