Three takeaways from Monday’s 3-0 loss to Houston in the season opener:
***Concern for the King: Felix Hernandez tweaked his groin muscle in the fourth inning while covering first base and exited after the fifth. He gave up two loud homers but otherwise pitched fairly well: five hits, six strikeouts, no walks.
Hernandez confidently predicted he’ll make his next scheduled start Saturday at Anaheim: "Oh, yeah. For sure. I’ll be there."
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***No punch: The Mariners’ supposedly high-octane attack surrendered quietly against Houston ace Dallas Keuchel and two relievers. Just three hits. All singles. Maybe that was just Keuchel recapturing his 2015 Cy Young form.
New shortstop Jean Segura was a notable exception. He had two of the three hits and was robbed of a third when Keuchel made a terrific play on a bunt. The Robinson Cano-Nelson Cruz-Kyle Seager core was a combined 1-for-9.
***Bullpen impressions: Right-hander Nick Vincent’s rough spring bled into the opener when he gave up one run in two-thirds of an inning, but lefty James Pazos and righty Casey Fien had strong debuts as Mariners.
Pazos retired four straight batters after replacing Vincent with two outs in the sixth inning, and Fien pitched a one-two-three eighth inning.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners