If you thought this pre-game would be about King Felix ("King of Opening Day" according to the Seattle Times), you’re right. I’ve been pondering what it would be like from Felix’s perspective. Specifically, what is it like to know the fans are afraid of you. What kind of confidence, if any, comes with knowing people groan when they hear your name? That Monday’s talk among A’s enthusiasts included, "Oh, man I’m so glad we don’t open with Felix Hernandez tonight!" [Note: If he played for the Yankees or the Angels, you know we’d never groan aloud; but this is Seattle, the always-poised-but-never-connects-the-dots team that can’t manufacture enough wins to really be a threat. Stay tuned, however, I may eat those words someday.]
Not afraid of Felix? Then you need the math: For 2014, he was 4-0 against the A’s with a 2.22 ERA in six starts. Career vs. Oakland: 19-7 with a 2.58 ERA in 38 career starts against our A’s. Still not convinced? Our team average (of current players who have batted against Felix) is .205 with an OBP of .258. Ah, but don’t dismay! Of the 8 active players that have stats against Felix, one has a green and gold cape: You can believe in Stephen Vogt. In 7 career at-bats versus Felix, he’s had 3 hits, a homerun and a walk; he sports a .429 batting average with an .500 OBP. IBISV!
Reddick is back! Hallelujah! [Nothing against Tyler Ladendorf…I’m impressed with the kid.] Activated this morning, Reddick’s history with Felix is one of strikeouts (7 in 38 ABs), but Josh also punched out two doubles and picked up a walk. Get on base and let Vogt and Butler bring you home with the long ball, both have successfully taken Felix deep.
As for starting pitcher Jesse Hahn, in his only career start against the Mariners last year he gave up just one unearned run in seven innings. Robinson Cano was his only threat. So, pitch around Robbie. Man, doesn’t it all just make sense from our seats?
Sunday battle: Bring it! Here’s your starting lineups for today. See you post-game. Go A’s!
|SEATTLE MARINERS||OAKLAND A'S|
|Austin Jackson - CF||Sam Fuld - CF|
|Seth Smith - DH||Mark Canha - LF|
|Robinson Cano - 2B||Ben Zobrist - 2B|
|Nelson Cruz - RF||Billy Butler - DH|
|Kyle Seager - 3B||Ike Davis - 1B|
|Logan Morrison - 1B||Stephen Vogt - C|
|Dustin Ackley - LF||Brett Lawrie - 3B|
|Mike Zunino - C||Josh Reddick - RF|
|Brad Miller - SS||Marcus Semien - SS|