Besides for the MLB Network dropping the ball on not giving us live coverage for the opening game between Seattle and Oakland from Japan (what is this, NBC tennis?), we had ourselves a well pitched extra inning game with several things to draw from the Mariners’ 3-1, 11 inning win,
Brandon McCarthy is going to break out- With Trevor Cahill in Phoenix and Gio Gonzalez in DC, McCarthy is the ace of this Oakland staff. After greatly improving his ground ball rate last year to 46.7 percent, he recorded 12 ground ball outs against the Mariners to only five fly ball outs. He allowed just a run over seven sterling innings, a good sign for a stellar 2012 season. And the best part? He’s probably going to be facing this awful Seattle lineup at least a few more times this season.
Ichiro looks comfortable in three-hole- Maybe it was his familiar Japanese surroundings that made him more comfortable at the dish this morning, or perhaps he’s more motivated now after an uncharacteristically awful 2011. Either way, Ichiro had four hits and looked refreshed and rejuvenated in his home country. Perhaps a sign of things to come…
Watch out for umpire fatigue- Whenever these opening Japanese excursions happen, people always talk about how the two teams could come home tired and slump to start the regular season. I wonder if this jetlag and fatigue affects the umpires as well. It has to, no? Let’s see if some odd things happen with Tom Hallion, Jeff Nelson, Marvin Hudson and Dan Bellino early on. I’ll be keeping my eye out…
Ackley strives away from Safeco- Seattle put Dustin Ackley in the two-hole today and promptly factored into all three Mariner runs. He homered in the fourth off McCarthy for the season’s first run, had the eventual game-winning RBI single in the 11th and subsequently scored on Ichiro’s RBI single. Hitting ahead of Ichiro and getting on base will definitely increase Suzuki’s RBI opportunities, but he has to sustain that success at home as well. His home and road splits from 2011 are pretty different, and more consistency at home could give the Seattle offense somewhat of a fighting chance this season.
|Dustin Ackley 2011 Splits|
|Seattle||Plate Appearances||Slash Line||XBH|