The Seattle Mariners have the makings of a better offensive team in 2012 than they've had in years, although it's youth and inexperience may leave it vulnerable at times.
That one of those times was tonight - and Seattle's sold-out home opener - produced a 4-0, three-hit shutout by three Oakland pitchers, including 38-year-old Bartolo Colon.
Did the Mariners hitters take that shutout personally?
“You bet we do,” Kyle Seager said. “Our job is to play defense and score runs, and when we don’t score, we’re not doing the job. Colon his spots, changed speeds a lot more than the last time we faced him.”
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With Felix Hernandez gamely getting through seven tough innings, allowing two runs, the Mariners offense was blanked for the second time in four games, limited to singles by Dustin Ackley, Ichiro Suzuki and Jesus Montero.
There will be concerns about Felix's velocity and how it impacts his game - and though he touched 92-93 mph, most of his fastballs were 91 mph or lower. The Mariners are likely far more frustrated by Seattle's attack than their ace.
Now 4-5, they have been in games because of their pitching - and lost them for lack of runs. In their five losses, they've scored a total of nine runs - and in the American League, that just won't do.
So hungry was a crowd of 46,026 for offense that the loudest cheer of the night came for a foul ball, one hit with two men aboard by Michael Saunders with the team trailing, 2-0. At the last moment, it hooked just foul.
It was the closest Seattle came to scoring all night.