Obviously not exactly what the Mariners had in mind for the home opener. They amassed two hits ... TWO HITS!
"There’s no one more disappointed than the 25 men in that room for the performance on opening day," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "There was a tremendous crowd out there. I think it’s unfortunate to start a season this way and go through this stretch. If you look out there during the course of that ball game, you see a lot of guys with their head down a little bit. It’s something we are going to talk about tomorrow. It’s something we are going to attack and continue to work on and be positive."
Franklin Gutierrez, who is hitting .419 (13-for-31) had one of them - a double and Jose Lopez had the other. A's starter Justin Duchscherer who is making just his second start after missing almost two years with injuries, pitched 7 1/3 innings, allowing two hits, striking out four and walking two while hitting a batter. This is a guy that still isn't even back to his all-star form yet.
"Duchscherer threw a nice ball game," Wakamatsu said. "But you talk about a plan of attack, we pulled a lot of balls off this guy and we had a game plan going in trying to use the opposite field and we didn’t do it."
But it's more than that. There is an anxiety surrounding this team because of the lack of offense. They are all aware of it. It feels like if they don't have runs by the third or fourth inning a sense of "here we go again" sets in.
Everyone is just pressing. I think that’s the key. Everyone is going up there trying to hit the ball a little too hard, but it’ll change
The team is hitting .212 (55-for-259) on the season with a slugging percentage of .286 and an on-base percentage of .287.
If you take away Gutierrez' numbers from the team, the Mariners are hitting .184 (42-for-228).
Ryan Rowland-Smith didn't pitch horribly. He was strong through the first three innings and then walked three straight in the fourth inning.
"You saw a little bit with the lack of the offense where he thought he had to do a little bit more," Wakamatsu said.
Doing more meant getting a little too fine with his pitches.
"I felt like Oakland is a patient club, but when it starts to get a little deeper in the game, they start to get more aggressive," Rowland-Smith said. "I went in with 0-0 counts trying to nibble a little bit and make that perfect pitch.
I just had to take step back and just slow everything down and make my pitches and pitch the game I was pitching. The first three innings I felt like I was making my pitches, I was in sync, I was in a rhythm, and then I started nibbling and that’s something I never do and that’s frustrating."
Rowland-Smith pitched seven innings, allowing four runs on three hits, but he walked five hitters and struck out one.
"The five walks is unacceptable," he said. "It doesn’t matter what kind of game you pitch or how many hits you give up or anything like that. There’s nothing for me. I don’t normally walk a lot of guys, it might be one or two game, if any. But that’s just unacceptable."
A few thoughts ...
With the exception of Milton Bradley, the defense was pretty stellar. Casey Kotchman and Chone Figgins both made some outstanding plays. Bradley is not a great outfielder anymore. I don't know if he ever was, but injuries seemed to have destroyed some of his ability to move laterally.
He looks uncomfortable and unsure of himself at times especially when he has to react with a movement to one side or the other.
Obviously, this team cannot continue to hit this poorly, but it won't be an offensive juggernaut. It's going to be a fight to get four runs every night. People need to expect it.
- Oakland has now won four straight against the Mariners after losing 10 of the previous 12 games dating back to May 27, 2009…the win also snaps their 7-game losing streak at Safeco Field.
- Starter Justin Duchscherer earned his first win of the season, his first win since July 8, 2008 against Seattle…his 7.1 innings marked a season-high…it was his fourth career start of at least 7.0 innings pitched and no runs allowed (last: 7/20/08 at NYY)…in his last four starts against Seattle, he is now 2-1, 2.33 ERA (7 ER, 27.0 IP) with 14 strikeouts…he missed the entire 2009 season following surgery on his right elbow and an ensuing back injury.
- Daric Barton entered the game with eight walks this season, 2nd in the American League and walked two more times today…last year he walked 26 times, while striking out only 25 times.
- Scored in the top of the 4th without a hit, when 3 straight walks then a sacrifice fly gave the A’s a 1-0 lead.
- Today’s game marks the Mariners 15th consecutive home opener sellout. Every home opener since 1996 has sold out.
- Mariners had their 11th home opener at Safeco Field (2000-2010)…now 6-5 in home openers played at Safeco Field, snapping a 3-game winning streak in home openers…the roof has been opened in 5 of the 11 games, including today…Mariners are now 6-3 in home openers when not opening the season at home.
- Franklin Gutierrez extended his hitting streak to 13 games (.400, 20x50 with 6 doubles, 6 RBI and 8 runs scored) with a double in the bottom of the 4th…the streak dates back to September 30th of last season.
- Ryan Rowland-Smith retired the first nine hitters he faced and held a no-hitter through five innings…He went seveninnings, his longest outing since September 27, 2009 against Toronto and tied for the longest outing of the season for a Mariner starter…It was his second appearance against the Athletics this season, getting the no-decision in Oakland on April 7…Rowland-Smith’s 5 walks set a new career-high…His previous mark of 4 came against Tampa Bay last year…Rowland-Smith had his string of 7 consecutive quality starts at Safeco Field snapped.
- New additions Casey Kotchman and Chone Figgins produced some defensive gems during their Safeco debut, with Kotchman diving to right in third to rob Gabe Gross of an extra base hit and Figgins running down a Jake Fox blooper in the third before starting a double play with an underhand scoop to Jack Wilson in the fifth.