Game One: Random Thoughts
Game 1 of 162 is in the books, and it was a nailbiter win for Your Seattle Mariners against the Cleveland Ethnically Insensitive Caricatures. Some random observations:
- Sam Holbrook is a crap balls-and-strikes umpire. Not only was he calling strikes on pitches way inside on lefties/outside on righties, he was not at all consistent in it. He cost Dee Gordon a K and Mike Marjama was giving him polite lip about a strike being called on him that he wasn't getting for his pitcher.
- I love Ichiro and I want to see him play forever. That said, he looked rusty at the plate, slow to get the bat moving. Hopefully this is a timing issue that will resolve itself with more reps, as he had only a minimal spring training.
- On the other hand, replacing Ichiro for defense? Really? OK, I guess.
- Felix was making a statement last night, and that statement was: I AM STILL YOUR KING AND DO NOT FORGET IT. His abbreviated spring did seem to affect his endurance, but he didn't falter until he neared his predetermined pitch count. Now: can he do it again next time out in San Francisco? And can he hit another bomb?
- Francisco Lindor is too good. Someone needs to put pebbles in his shoes or something.
- I'm surprised more catchers don't get whacked in the hand by swinging bats, as Marjama did. Batters tend to stand too far back in (or not in) the batter's box and they're right on top of the catcher's arm, and though I get the rule—it's catcher's interference because the catcher ostensibly reached into the swing area to catch the ball prematurely—we're talking a matter of an inch or two. Is the batter's box too deep? Is the boundary not being enforced? Both? Or am I overthinking things because when I have to catch in my softball league I get nervous about big metal bats being swung in such close proximity to my head?
- Eddie Díaz...WTF, Eddie. Opening Day nerves, I hope? Or are you always going to freak out and pitch wildly in front of the home crowd? Maybe try an experiment, fans and ballpark PA people: don't make any fuss over Díaz. No music for him, no big cheers. Let him think it's a road game. Kudos to Marjama for keeping him focused enough to close it out.
- You heard it here first: Your 2018 American League Batting Champion, Mitch Haniger. (Bear in mind, this from the same guy that declared in April 2014 that the '14 AL Rookie of the Year would be James Paxton.)
- Let's switch things up tomorrow and score at least once without the benefit of a home run, OK? I like pitchers' duels, don't get me wrong, and I'm glad the Cruz Missile was enough to win it, but homers are comparatively boring.
What say the rest of you?