Monday, April 03, 2006


Welcome to Mariners opening day. This season and the Locked on Sports Blog will keep a running commentary about what is happening during the Mariners games. It will be somewhat similar to the Simulblog of the Sonics season. Obviously with 162 games it will be impossible to cover all of the games but we will do the best we can. Enjoy the season and please give us any thoughts on what would improve the coverage or bring you to more often.

WP: Scott Shields (1-0)
LP: JJ Putz (1-0)
HR: Guerrero (1), Johjima (1), Petagine (1)


  • A lot of the talk out of spring training is that hitting coach Jeff Petland has changed the approach of the Mariners hitters. In addition, the Mariners said they were going to push the limit on the baselines. The rally in the 6th inning showed a lot of signs of this being true. Both Johjima and Reed took the ball the other way. Betencourt battled with a solid at-bat and a short swing for a hit and Jose Lopez hit a flair to right by simply battling.

  • Great sign that Johjima has enough power to take it out to right field. Johjima also made a great play to cut off a runner at second when Reed’s weak throw had no chance to get the runner at home.

  • A good sign that the bottom of the line-up started the rally because last year the Mariners gave away every third inning with the bottom of the line-up.

  • Jamie Moyer was vintage. A slow start but then he got his game on. The issue for Jamie over the past few years has been how the home plate umpire calls the game. Today he was given a really wide plate.

  • First guy out of the pen was Rafael Soriano. If he can be anywhere close to what he was before Tommy John surgery it will significantly change the Mariners staff. He hit 94 MPH on back to back fastballs to Vlady Guerrero. He is consistently at 94. Then he threw a great breaking ball to Vlady at 83 MPH. That is a great differential.

  • The gun at Safeco must have been fast George Sherill was at 93MPH which is hard to believe or he got a hold of Ryan Franklin’s illegal stuff :-o

  • If Soriano is solid he can control the 7th inning, JJ Putz, who should improve again, can take the eight and Eddie the 9th. That could be a very solid group and if the Mariners can shorten games in that fashion they could be much better.

  • JJ is still a big circle pitcher. In other words, he is throwing to a big circle rather then specific spots on the plate. Until he shows the ability to find specific locations he will be an average pitcher with great stuff. It cost him today.

  • Maybe it is just opening day, but I am optimistic that both Lopez and Betancourt will be able to hit. Lopez has shown some signs of being special. Time will tell if that all comes together, but I assume he will have a good year and could have some stretches where he is really on fire. Betancourt has been talked about as a defensive only player, but his swing looks and his contact is solid. He is really inexperienced, but my bet is he gains an idea of what he is trying to do and hits for decent average.

  • Bases loaded in the 6th and nobody out and the Mariners can’t score. That is brutal. You simply have to score a run. Last year, the Mariners were the worst in baseball in hits per run. It simply took too much energy to score a run. This has to change if the Mariners are going to have success.

  • In the 9th inning the Angels had runners on 1st and 3rd with two outs. The Angels runner stole second without a throw. It was on a pitch that would have been nearly impossible to throw anyone out on. However, so often teams allow that steal uncontested and in this game that run was the difference when the Mariners added a run in the ninth inning.
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