After what appeared to be a fairly good Spring Training for the Twins despite the injuries, they weren’t able to produce against Seattle in the Season Opener. With a fantastic pitching matchup between Felix Hernandez and Francisco Liriano, this was expected to be a very good game to watch. Well it certainly was, for Seattle fans as the Twins bats were unable to produce much.
King Felix, as Hernandez is referred as, was able to keep the Twins bats quiet for the most part. He lasted eight innings, giving up one earned run on five hits while walking three and striking out six. The most important stat of his outing was that Felix was able to hold the 3-6 hitters (Cuddyer, Morneau, Kubel and Crede) to just one run off two hits in 14 combined at-bats while on the mound. If you are an opposing pitcher and can hold those four to just two hits, you have taken the threat out of the lineup.
Not only was the Mariners pitching spot on throughout the night, but so was their offense. With Ken Griffey Jr. back in Seattle, they look to improve upon what was a very miserable season in 2008. Ken Griffey launched a solo homerun in the 5th inning to extend the Mariners lead to 2-0 at the time. That was Griffey’s 41st homerun against the Twins, the most against any opponent in his career. What makes that really amazing is that he played nine seasons in the National League before returning to Seattle.
He wasn’t the only one to hit the long ball. Franklin Gutierrez would hit a two-run homer off Liriano in the 6th inning, which put the Mariners up 4-1 and the game out of reach.
Francisco had a decent outing despite being told he was going to be the Opening Day starter just a few days before hand. He didn’t surrender any walks, whereas he had some control issues in Spring Training, so that was very nice to see. However, with Baker out two weeks, he will have to step up and be the leader of this rotation until Scott returns to full form.
Look for the Twins to try and bounce back when Nick Blackburn takes on Erik Bedard in game two of this four game series tomorrow night.