Today's Battle: Felix. After Monday, Felix, like Rich Hill, might have a little Santiago in him, and by this I refer to the passion-driven fight that supersedes his own basic needs and pushes him to battle beyond any physical and mental outing he has had in his career. (OK, a bit dramatic, but see TuffsBuffs game recap #6 for Old Man and the Sea metaphor.)
Monday: Felix Hernandez sustained his first opening day loss despite heading into the 5th with a no-hitter and two-run lead; he only allowed a one-hit, bloop single but his base on balls give-away hurt him when the Rangers scored three in the 6th to pull ahead for the one-hit game win. Felix's response? "Five walks...That's not good. That's not me. I was rushing to the plate and opening my front side and that's why I was missing a lot of pitches. All game. I don't remember the last time I had five walks" (Greg Johns, MLB.com). Today: Felix. Enough said there.
Our boys in green and gold...It's been a good week. Despite a tough opening day loss, there is much to celebrate this week, not the least of which is a 3-3 record going into today. Grant you, it was a bit frightful to lose the first two games by one run. Shades of 2015 and our 35 one-run losses. Ouch. But let's be tentatively hopeful about our bats. Shocking but true: Billy Butler is 3 for 10 including two doubles out of the gate. (And is it just me or does he seem a little faster this year?) Josh Phegley, who was to start opening night with Gray but was pulled for the Hill/Vogt matchup is leading our team batting average by going 3 for 5 with a double. Phegley will have his bat in the lineup today. Newcomer Coghlan sealed the win over the M's last night to go deep for his first homerun of the season with his 2-4, 2 RBI performance. Reddick: Shades of 2012 where he went yard 32 times and won a Gold Glove? Might be going a bit far, but 2 homers in 6 games (19 AB's) is hopeful. And watch Vogt-er today as he serves in the DH role. Against King Felix he is 11-21 (.524) that includes a double, triple and home run. ALWAYS believe in Stephen Vogt!
On the hill today for the green and gold is Chris Bassitt. His 2016 stats don't look pretty (6.75 ERA) but look more deeply. Against the Chi-Sox he had a shutout into the 5th inning and unfortunately made a three-run mistake on an 0-2 pitch. He picked up 4 K's in his 5 1/3 innings and looked good overall. Against the M's last year Bassitt held them to a .269 ERA and .398 OBP. The two challenges for today will probably be Nelson Cruz and Seth Smith since both batted .400 against him last year and tacked on extra bases.
All of that said, here's my suggestion for today. Let's stick with Bull Durham basics today: "You hit the ball; you throw the ball; you catch the ball. Got it?" The potential result: Felix entering week 2 with a 0-2 record could happen. Let's go, Boys. 4-3 is waiting for us!
Here's today's starting lineup:
|OAKLAND A'S||SEATTLE MARINERS|
|Coco Crisp - CF||Norichika Aoki - LF|
|Chris Coghlan - 3B||Kyle Seager - 3B|
|Josh Reddick - RF||Robinson Cano - 2B|
|Stephen Vogt - DH||Nelson Cruz - RF|
|Jed Lowrie - 2B||Adam Lind - 1B|
|Khris Davis - LF||Seth Smith - DH|
|Yonder Alonso - 1B||Ketel Marte - SS|
|Josh Phegley - C||Steve Clevenger - C|
|Marcus Semien - SS||Leonys Martin - CF|
|Chris Bassitt - RHP||Felix Hernandez - RHP|