After a day where the sun was out and the roof was open for an unbelievable opening ceremony and tribute to Dave Niehaus that featured his wife, Marilyn, throwing out the first pitch to Felix Hernandez, the Mariners went out and laid an egg in the game that followed.
It was just ugly. That fourth inning was just brutal. And it was frighteningly reminiscent of so many games last season. That's not what you want to feel in the first home game of the season. Is this a different team? Yes. Is it a better team? Perhaps.
It was tough to tell tonight. The Mariners suffered their worst loss in franchise history, giving up 17 hits.
“They knocked the ball around a little bit, obviously,” manager Eric Wedge said. “We got behind quick and early. Then it was just about damage control and work our pitching as best we can.”
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Starter Jason Vargas seemed to be behind in every count thanks to pretty poor command, particularly with his fastball. Vargas has always impressed me with the ability to get outs when he might not have great stuff or when he might not have great command. But it appeared he lacked both tonight.
"It was very uncharacteristic of him," Wedge said.
In the fourth inning, Vargas gave up hits to six of the first seven batters he faced before being lifted. He made it just 3 1/2 innings allowing seven runs on nine hits. Wedge went to Tom Wilhelmson, who got rocked, giving up fivde runs on five hits including a moonshot of a homer to Travis Hafner that hit off the Hit It Here Cafe windows in the second deck.
"But those are things you have to go through," Wedge said about Wilhelmson. "It will be a learning experience for him and toughen him up a little bit. He’s a strong young pitcher and that will be part of him maturing at this level."
Wilhelmson left fastballs out and over the plate. And while that worked for him in Class A Clinton and Class A Everett last season. It doesn't work in the big leagues.
Offensively, Seattle didn't offer up much. The runs they scored were pretty inconsequential.
"A game like today, you kind of throw out all the rules when you get behind that early like that," Wedge said of the team's hitting approach.
- Cleveland scored 10 times in the fourth inning; the last time they scored 10+ in an inning: April 18, 2009 at New York…4 players recorded two hits in the inning (Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Santana, Hafner, and Orlando Cabrera).
- Travis Hafner extended his hitting streak to 6 games, during the streak he is batting .346 (9x26) with 7 runs, 1 double, 3 home runs and 6 RBI…dating back to 9/27/10 vs. DET extended his hitting streak to 10 games, batting .378 (14x37) with 12 runs, 1 double, 4 home runs and 11 RBI
- Hafner drove in at least four runs for the 29th time in his career (last: 8/15/10 vs. SEA)…his career-high is 6 RBI (4 times, last: 6/3/06 vs. LAA).
- Every starting Cleveland batter got at least one hit in tonight’s game.
- Carlos Carrasco tossed 6.0 innings in his 9th straight start dating back to Sept. 1, 2010 vs. the White Sox…has recorded a quality start in 7 of his last 9 starts dating back to Sept. 1, 2010.
- Carrasco recorded 6 strikeouts in 6 innings of work…that ties for 2nd on his career list for strikeouts in a game, which he has accomplished twice before (9/6/10 @ LAA, 9/17/10 @ KC)…his career high is 9 (10/2/10 @ CWS).
- Asdrubal Cabrera (solo,1st) and Travis Hafner (3-Run,4th) hit their 2nd home runs of the season…it was the 7th RBI in as many games this season for Cabrera…it was also Hafner’s 5th RBI in as many games.
- Tonight’s game was the Mariners 16th consecutive home opener sellout dating back to 1996.
- Justin Smoak extended his Safeco Field hitting streak to eight games dating back to July 25, 2010 vs. Boston…during the streak he is batting .370 (10x27) with 3 runs, 3 doubles, 2 RBI and 5 walks.
- Ryan Langerhans walked a career-high 4 times today for the 2nd time in his career (last: 8/17/06 at WAS)…the last
- Mariners player to walk four or more times in a game was Edgar Martinez who had 5 on June 24, 2004 at Texas.
- Jack Cust recorded his first extra-base hit of the season with a double in the 4th…in his career he is now batting .327(33x101) against Cleveland… Cust has reached base safely via hit or walk in all 7 games this season.
- Seattle drops to 21-14 all-time in the first home game of the season…despite the loss have still won 3 of their last 5home openers 6 of the last 11, and are 6-6 in home openers at Safeco Field…are now 16-9 in night home openers. Mariners pitchers gave up 10 runs on 10 hits in the top of the 4th…the last time the Mariners gave up 10 runs in one inning was May 8th, 2003 (10 vs. NYY)…the last time they gave up 10 hits was May 28th, 2000 (10 at TB).
- Aaron Laffey, facing his former team for the first time since being traded, tossed 2.0 shutout innings while striking out 2…6th time in career to toss at least 2.0 shutout innings in relief (last: 4/4/11 at TEX).