It’s not surprising that the Mariners would like to forget what happened last week in their 1-6 stumble through Houston and Anaheim.
Manager Scott Servais opened his pre-game news briefing prior to Monday’s homer opener against the Astros by declaring: "Happy Opening Day. I’m excited to get going. It’s been a long spring training."
It drew the expected laughs from the assembled ballscribes and lesser beings.
"We’re going to stay positive," Servais continued. "It’s not the start, obviously, that we wanted to get off to. Things happen. It is baseball. We saw some crazy things this first week.
"The focus for us, and we talked about it after the game (Sunday), is we need to get back to being who we are. We can’t do anything about what happened last week. I wish I could. Can’t.
"We’ve got to move forward and win the series against Houston. Get it rolling in the right direction again, and we’ll be just fine."
The Mariners took a step in the right direction Monday with a 6-0 victory.
Playing well at Safeco Field would help. The Mariners were 44-37 a year ago at home, and Monday marked the start of a nine-game homestand that also includes visits from Texas and Miami.
"It’s a lot easier here," Servais insisted. "It means a lot to these guys coming home and playing in our ballpark with our fans behind us. Guys are excited. Energy will be up today. We’re looking forward to getting out there.
"We believe we have a good team. I love our team. I really do. I like our team. I like the personalities and the character of our team. How we line up. The bullpen. Everything. But liking it and going out and doing it are two different things."
Three things to note heading into Tuesday’s pitching matchup between Ariel Miranda and and Houston’s Joe Musgrove. The two hooked up April 6 in Houston, when the Mariners won 4-2.:
***Miranda allowed two runs in five innings last week at Minute Maid Park and is 1-0 in two career starts against the Astros while allowing four runs in 12 innings. Musgrove had not faced the Mariners prior to last week, when he allowed two runs and five hits in five-plus innings.
***George Springer is 2-for-5 with a pair of homers against Miranda while Carlos Correa is 2-for-5 with a homer.
***Mitch Haniger went 2-for-3 with a homer last week against Musgrove. Nobody else had more than one hit.
Reliever Tony Zych had a rough inning Sunday in his second rehab appearance while pitching for Triple-A Tacoma at Sacramento (Giants); he allowed three hits, including a three-run homer with two outs.
So not the best recommendation for a recall to active duty.
"It hasn’t been dominant by any means," Servais said. "I think he feels good. His arm is fine. Velocity and stuff? We all know it tends to tick up once you get to the big leagues.
"We’ll continue to monitor and see when we feel good about him stepping in here and not just being on the roster but being in a position where he can help us right out of the chute."
James Paxton is just the third homegrown Mariners pitcher to start more than one home opener. Can you name the other two? One is easy: Felix Hernandez is 2007, 2012 and 2015. The other is Matt Moore in three straight years from 1984-86…Robinson Cano’s five RBIs in Sunday’s loss marked the 15th time in his career that he driven in five or more runs in a game...through one week, Mitch Haniger leads all American League rookies in hits, runs, walks, homers and extra-base hits…the Mariners, though Sunday, led the majors defensively with 13 double plays.
It was 16 years ago Tuesday — April 11, 2001 — that right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, in his eighth career game, established his defensive reputation by throwing out Terrance Long at third base in a 3-0 victory at Oakland.
The play is now known to Mariners’ fans simply as "the throw."
Suzuki did not start the game but entered as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. In the bottom of the inning, Long tried to go from first to third on a single — and Suzuki threw a dart for an out.
***It was 15 years ago Tuesday — April 11, 2002 —that Edgar Martinez scored his 1,063rd career run in an 8-4 victory at Anaheim and passed Ken Griffey as the franchise’s all-time leader.
Martinez remains the franchise’s all-time leader with 1,219. Ichiro Suzuki is second with 1,176, followed by Griffey at 1,113.
The Mariners and Astros continue their three-game series at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday at Safeco Field with another rematch from last week’s series in Houston: lefty Ariel Miranda (0-0 with a 3.60 ERA) vs. Houston righty Joe Musgrove (0-0, 3.60).
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN and the Mariners Radio Network, including mariners.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv).
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners