AS YOU KNOW…Felix Hernandez is celebrating his 31st birthday today…BUT DID YOU KNOW…that Felix becomes the 19th Mariners pitcher (done 23 times including Felix’s start today) to make a start on his birthday?…the last to do so was Roenis Elias on Aug. 1, 2014 at Baltimore (L,5.2,7,2,1,1,7)…the last Mariners starter to earn the win on his birthday was Hisashi Iwakuma on April 12, 2013 vs. Texas (6.2,3,1,1,1,6,HR)…BONUS NOTE…Scott Bankhead started on his birthday (July 31) in three consecutive seasons for the Mariners (1987, 1988 & 1989).
TONIGHT’S TILT…the Mariners continue a two-city, seven-day, seven-game road trip tonight with the second (0-1) of a three-game series at Los Angeles-AL…went 1-3 in the season-opening four-game series at Houston…a 9-game homestand against Houston (3 G), Texas (3 G) and Miami (3 G) begins with the home opener on Monday, April 10 at 2:10 p.m. at Safeco Field…tonight’s game will be televised live in HD on ROOT SPORTS NW and broadcast live on 710 ESPN Seattle and the Mariners Radio Network.
ODDS AND ENDS…the Mariners open the 2017 Championship Season with a 7-game road trip to Houston (1-3) and Los Angeles-AL (0-1)…17 of the club’s first 26 games – and 23 of the first 38 – will be played away from Safeco Field.
- All Hands on Deck – in the first 5 games of the season, the Mariners have used 26 players (14 pitchers).
- New Faces – of the 25 players active for Opening Day, 18 were not on the Mariners Opening Day roster last season, including 12 players who were not in the Mariners organization when the 2016 season began.
- Young & Old – Carlos Ruiz is the oldest player on the Mariners Opening Day roster at 38 years, 76 days…Edwin Díaz is the youngest at 23 years, 17 days.
- First Opening Day – Dan Altavilla (RHP), Edwin Díaz (RHP), Mitch Haniger (OF), Guillermo Heredia (OF), Ariel Miranda (LHP), Taylor Motter (INF), Dillon Overton (LHP) & James Pazos (LHP) are on their first Opening Day rosters…this is the 12th Opening Day roster for Felix Hernandez & Robinson Canó.
A BIRTHDAY FIT FOR A KING…tonight’s starting pitcher for the Mariners, Felix Hernandez, is celebrating his 31st birthday today…Felix is the Mariners all-time career leader in wins (154), starts (360), quality starts (240), innings pitched (2420.2) and strikeouts (2,270)…he has spent his entire 13-year Major League career with the Mariners and is a 6-time All-Star (2009, 2011-15), a 2-time ERA champ and the 2010 recipient of AL Cy Young Award…Felix authored the only perfect game in club history on August 15, 2012 vs. Tampa Bay.
HEAVENLY HEIGHTS…Felix Hernandez is making his 51st career start against the Angels tonight, tying Catfish Hunter (who was born 71 years ago today in Hertford, NC) for the 2nd-most career starts against the Angels…only Jim Kaat has made more career starts vs. the Halos (57)…Felix’s 328 career strikeouts against the Angels are the most of any pitcher in ML history, ahead of Roger Clemens (324) and Bert Blyleven (315).
TURNING THE PAGE…with Felix Hernandez turning 31 today, here is a look at where he ranked all-time among pitchers through their age-30 seasons (Felix pitched 12 seasons, 2005-16, at the age of 30 or younger): strikeouts (2,264) – 7th, starts (359) – 9th, innings pitched (2,415.2) – 22nd, wins (154) – 28th.
THEY SAY IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY…notable games by Mariners on their birthday include: Nelson Cruz on his 35th birthday: 2-for-5 with 2 runs, a home run and 2 RBI in a 7-0 Mariners win on July 1, 2015 at San Diego…Jay Buhner on his 27th birthday: 3-for-4 with 1 run, 1 double, 1 home run and 2 RBI in a 5-2 win over Oakland on August 13, 1991 at the Kingdome…Ken Phelps on his 33rd birthday: 3-for-4 with 2 runs, 2 doubles, 1 triple and 3 RBI in a 15-4 victory vs. the Angels on August 6, 1987 at the Kingdome…Hisashi Iwakuma on his 32nd birthday: faced off against Rangers starter Yu Darvish and earned the win, allowing 1 run on 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6 in 6.2 innings pitched in a 3-1 win vs. Texas on April 12, 2013.
KEEPING IT IN THE DIVISION…tonight is the Mariners 6th (1-4) of 13 straight games vs. AL West opponents to open the season…17 of the club’s first 20 games this year will be played against divisonal foes…the Mariners are 14-9 (.609) in their last 23 match-ups against AL West opponents (9/7/16-c)…with Thursday’s win at Houston, Seattle snapped a five-game losing streak against AL West teams (10/1/16 – 4/5/17)…from Sept. 7-14, 2016, the Mariners won 8 consecutive games vs. AL West opponents.
GAME TIME CHANGE…tonight’s game at the Angels will start at 7:17 p.m. PT (previously: 7:07 p.m. PT).
FOR STARTERS… Mariners starters have combined for a 3.00 ERA (9 ER, 27.0 IP), 10th-best among starting staffs in the Majors…they have allowed 2 runs-or-fewer in four of the club’s five games this season…Mariners starters have also given up 5 hits-or-fewer in four of their five outings…seven of the 9 runs allowed by Mariners starting pitchers have come via solo home runs.
BOOMSTICK BABY!…Nelson Cruz has hit 38 career home runs vs. the Angels, most in his career vs. any single opponent…among active players, he trails only Adrian Beltre (40) in home runs vs. the Angels…his 17 career home runs at Angel Stadium are 2nd-most among active visiting players, trailing Beltre (22)…Cruz also has 93 career RBI against the Halos, most in his career vs. any single opponent…he trails Beltre (147) for the most RBI vs. the Angels among active players.
MISP-ING IN ACTION…the Mariners are batting .093 (4×43) with runners in scoring postion in 5 games this season…their 43 at-bats with runners in scoring postion are T2nd-most in the Major Leagues (also: Arizona and Los Angeles-AL), trailing only Tampa Bay (44)…the club’s .093 batting average with runners in scoring position is the lowest such average in the Majors this season.
THE HOME OPENER…the Mariners will open their 2017 home schedule vs. the Houston on Monday, April 10 at 2:10 p.m. at Safeco Field…the gates will open to the general public at 11:40 a.m.…pre-game festivities will begin at approximately 1:30 p.m.…Ruppert Jones, Harold Reynolds, Mark McLemore and Willie Bloomquist will throw out ceremonial first pitches…catching the pitches will be Mariners Hall of Famers Alvin Davis, Edgar Martinez, Jamie Moyer and Dan Wilson…limited tickets are available for Monday’s home opener at Mariners.com/tickets, the Safeco Field Box Office and any Mariners Team Store.
OPENING HOMESTAND HIGHLIGHTS…the Mariners first homestand of the 2017 season begins with Opening Day vs. the Houston Astros on Monday, April 10 at 2:10 p.m.…the homestand also features Ken Griffey Jr. Replica Statue Night on Friday, April 14 at 7:10 p.m. vs. the Texas Rangers and Ichiro Dual Bobblehead Day on Wednesday, April 19 at 12:40 p.m. vs. the Miami Marlins.
Today in Mariners History (April 8)
· 1977 – The Mariners win their first game in franchise history by defeating the California Angels 7-6. The Mariners win the game by scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Larry Milbourne drives in the winning run with a double. Bill Laxton is the winning pitcher.
· 1985 – The Mariners defeated the University of Washington, 6-3, at the Kingdome before a crowd of 4,429 in the first exhibition game between the two Seattle teams.
· 1986 – Jim Presley went 3×4 with two home runs and six RBI, including the game-tying, two-run homer in the bottom of the 9th, and the game-winning grand slam in the bottom of the 10th, as the Mariners beat California, 8-4 on Opening Night, in front of 42,112 Kingdome fans.
· 2001 – Mark McLemore hits his first career, pinch-hit home run, a two-run shot to tie the game against Texas, 4-4.
· 2013 – The Mariners faced the Houston Astros for the first time as an AL West opponent, recording a 3-0 shutout in the 2013 Safeco Field home opener.
· 2014 – Corey Hart went 2-for-4 with a pair of home runs (4 RBI) to lead the Mariners to a 5-3 comeback win over the Angels in the home opener. A sold-out crowd of 45,661 saw Seattle storm back from an early 3-0 deficit to improve to 5-2 on the season.