Mariners Sweep Angels, off to Solid Start

The Seattle Mariners completed a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels for the first time since 2006 on Wednesday night, and they did so in convincing fashion by outscoring their opponents 26-8 over the three games. Everything appears to be clicking for the club thus far as they start a year with three wins for the first time in 18 years. Is it time to get excited about the Mariners again? They just may be up to something here.

Rookie James Paxton made his first start of the 2014 season and looked excellent pitching seven innings of shutout ball and allowing just two hits. He also walked a pair of batters, but struck out nine including a run of six straight outs recorded via the punch out. His velocity was touching 98 miles per hour at times and his curveball was making hitters look foolish. Paxton only needed 99 pitches to get through his night and recording 64 of them for strikes. The 25-year old did find himself in a couple trouble spots, but managed to settle himself enough to escape unharmed.

The offence continued to run on all cylinders with six players collecting two hits a piece. Mike Zunino and Corey Hart  hit their first home runs of the season while Justin Smoak hit his second long ball and collected his seventh run batted in. Stefen Romero got the start in right field and pick up the first hit and run batted in of his major league career after going 0-4 in Tuesday night’s contest. If there’s a negative point anywhere in the box score, it’d be Dustin Ackley failing to reach base for the first time this season, but that was about it; his batting average fell to a measly .364 from the .571 he entered the game with.

We all knew what to expect from Felix Hernandez on Opening Day, but the fact Erasmo Ramirez and Paxton were able to follow him up with solid performances of their own is huge as the rotation is still a work in progress. The trio has allowed just four earned runs in 20 innings pitched and has struck out 26 batters while walking just three. This is great news for the club as their rotation depth appeared paper thin at the beginning of the season and will likely stay that way for another month.

At the top of the lineup Abraham Almonte has managed to get on base five times and Brad Miller picked up his fourth run batted in of the year. Robinson Cano has quietly gone 5-11 with three walks so far and collected his first RBI as a Mariner on Wednesday night. As it stands, Michael Saunders and Logan Morrison are the only Mariners who have yet to collect their first base hits of the season, although LoMo hasn’t seen any action since Opening Day.

Obviously there’s still 159 games separating the team from the finish line, but hey, let’s enjoy this streak as long as it lasts. Things actually look good in Mariner land at the moment, don’t be the guy who spoils the mood for everyone. The starters are pitching effectively, the entire lineup is contributing, the outfield defence hasn’t looked awful, and the bullpen has been solid too, Hector Noesi aside. There actually appears to be some room for optimism beyond the first couple games.

Next up for Seattle is a four-game set with the Oakland Athletics that will feature the major league debut of Roenis Elias on Thursday evening and the first start for Chris Young since September 29, 2012 on Friday.

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Tyler Carmont

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