And now, on to the Real Thing. ... Or is it? These games against the Mariners have a bit of the Exhibition feel, and while I think it is great p.r. and fun for players and fans alike, it is hard to think that it has relevance to the actual 2012 season. No matter, let's GOG!
Your answers must be posted by the first pitch of the first game. It is useful to check back before gametime, because sometimes you may have skipped a question, and the GOG creator or someone else will point it out. Feel free to ask for clarifications, as the questions are sometimes ambiguous or even wrong.
Seven out of our first eleven games are against the M's - and two of the first three will be against Felix Hernandez. (N.b., the Lookout Landing tagline is "Felix is ours and you can't have him.") This does not bode well for an undefeated season, and anyway, the A's have had us on a bit of a roller-coaster ride all winter. First, they dumped a lot of talent and semi-talent (for future talent), and ANers were talking about losing 100 games. Then, a series of acquisitions, which crescendoed in the signing of Yoenis Cespedes, had many of us thinking that we were again a .500 and better team. As of this writing, the A's have open questions at 1B and 3B, but everything looks pretty stable.
1. Series Outcome. A's and M's could be the Battle for the Basement. What is the Series Outcome? [2 points] Tie, 1-1
2. Bad Memories. On last year's Opening Day, Felix Hernandez held the A's to 5 hits and 2 runs in a nine inning complete game. The highlight came early: Josh Willingham's first inning homer (click to view) was amazing. How many hits do the A's get off Felix? Do they get a home run? Does Felix get a Complete Game? Also in the bad memory department, Kevin Kouzmanoff kicked (!) off the year with 2 errors and a mis-play. Does an A's third-baseman commit an error on Opening Day? [2 points, then 1 point each, 5 total] 5 Hits off Felix / 0 HR / No CG / Yes, Error (Sogard)
4. Cuban Demigod. We sure have a lot of eyes. All the rest of them are on Yoenis Cespedes, the A's hope for real power over the next four years and more. Guess Cespedes's H / XBH / HR / K over both games. [2 points each, 8 total] 2 H / 2 XBH / 1 HR / 3 K
5. At the Corners. The competitions for starting first baseman and third baseman - Brandon Allen and Kila Ka'aihue with Daric Barton left at home; Eric Sogard, Josh Donaldson, and Adam Rosales [and maybe even Wes Timmons!] at the hot corner until a better option comes along - will definitely continue past Opening Day. We want to see production now. For each position, guess number of times On Base (H+BB+HBP), XBH, Ks, Errors. (Pinch hitters do not count unless they are also the defensive replacement.) [2 points each, 16 total] Firstbase: 1 OB / 0 XBH / 2 K / 0 E; Thirdbase: 1 OB / 0 XBH / 0 K / 1 E
6. Return of the Japanese Mariners. Ichiro Suzuki, Munenori Kawasaki, and Hisashi Iwakuma are all traveling to Japan, though it is not clear if Kawasaki will be on the 25-man roster. Ichiro hasn't played in Japan since 2001, and both Kawasaki and Iwakuma have barely left the island! Guess the following: Ichiro's H; Kawasaki's Games Played; Iwakuma's IP. [2 points each, 6 total] Suzuki, 4 H / Kawasaki, 0 G / Iwakuma, 0 IP
7. Better End of the Pen. Let's not forget the Grant Balfour vs. Brian Fuentes closer duel, resolved correctly in favor of the cursing Australian. Which has more of: Appearances / IP / R / BB / K (tie is acceptable answer). [1 point each, 5 total] Balfour, Appearances (2-1) / Balfour, IP (2-1) / Tie, BB (0-0) / Tie, Runs (0-0) / Balfour, K (1-0)
(Possible points = 49.)
Answers must be poted by Wednesday Gametime (3:05 a.m.) - which feels more like Tuesday night, so don't get lost across the international dateline!