The Mariners completed a 3 game sweep of the A’s and are off to a good start for the season. The M’s have traditionally not done well against Oakland, especially in Oakland, so you have to feel good about the sweep and the performances put out by the players so far this season.
Defensively they have been pretty solid with only 2 errors (although Johjima likely should have had one on Saturday on a foul ball) in addition to making some tough plays. In the outfield Gutierrez and Chavez are covering a lot of ground.
On the pitching front, Erick Bedard has exceeded my expectations considering his performance last year. He did start off pretty strong last year but I am encouraged by how he has recovered from last year’s injury. Brandon Morrow is obviously not ready to be closing games yet. He had very limited innings in spring training and I think he might need to go down to Triple-A for a few games to get himself in proper shape, but he has managed to get 2 saves (in addition to the painful blown save in game 2 against Minnesota). Felix Hernandez’s 2 starts have been pretty similar with different results. In his first start he managed to escape some tough situations and his box score looked good. His second start was very similar but he had a few mistakes that the A’s capitalized on and ended up giving up 5 runs through 5 innings. Carlos Silva did not look good in his one start giving up 6 runs in 5 innings. The M’s are going to need a better outing from him this week than he put up in Minnesota.
Offensively the Mariners are doing enough to win games. I was a bit surprised in checking the season stats so far to see that Gutierrez is only batting .185. In watching and listening to the games it seems that his name has come up a lot and he does have 5 RBI. Endy Chavez is off to a good start (.370 avg.). He’s a career .272 hitter, but hopefully being in an everyday role he’ll be able to produce a higher average as he doesn’t offer much in the form of power.
Coming into the season, if you offered me the M’s being 5-2 after their first 7 games I would take that offer in a heartbeat. They currently sit 1 1/2 games up in the West. I’m looking forward to the Angels and Tigers coming into town when Ichiro will be getting his first start and hopefully the M’s continuing to play good baseball.
A question for the readers: What has been your impressions of the M’s start so far? Who do you think is on the short list to be getting more or less playing time?
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Written by Jeff Johnson