Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland A’s – 3 Things to Watch

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Mar 30, 2015; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Taijuan Walker (32) pitches against the Los Angeles Angels at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Tai Walker, J.A. Happ to Make 2015 Debuts

The Mariners’ received quality results from their pitching staff over the first 3 games of the 2015 season. Felix Hernandez was dominant on Opening Day, and James Paxton held the Halos to just 2 runs over 6 innings in game 2. Hisashi Iwakuma struggled mightily early in his first outing of the season, but he pitched much better over his final 3 innings. The M’s vaunted bullpen has yet to allow a run across 8 innings of work.

Taijuan Walker will make his 2015 debut for the Mariners on Friday night against the Oakland A’s. Prince Tai was brilliant this spring, recording a 0.67 ERA across 27.0 innings pitched. He finished strong for Seattle down the stretch last year, going 1-1 with a 1.96 ERA during the month of September. The 22-year-old right-hander has All Star caliber stuff, and I believe he will play a big part in the M’s success this season.

Feb 26, 2015; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher J.A. Happ poses for a portrait during photo day at Peoria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Mariners dealt for veteran southpaw J.A. Happ from the Toronto Blue Jays this winter. Happ will be called on to pitch the 2nd game of the 3 game series against the Athletics. He struggled this spring, posting a 2-3 record and a 6.11 ERA over 17.2 Cactus League innings. The 32-year-old had a decent season in 2014 with the Blue Jays, going 11-11 with a 4.22 ERA across 158.0 innings. His numbers should improve now that he no longer calls the Rogers Centre home. His fly ball tendencies should play well at the cavernous Safeco Field in 2015.

King Felix will toe the rubber for the M’s in the series finale on Sunday afternoon. Hernandez was nasty on Opening Day for the M’s, allowing 1 run on 2 hits across 7 innings. Felix had the Angels eating out of the palm of his hand, and he tallied 10 strikeouts against the reigning AL West champs. The Mariners’ ace was very successful against the A’s in 2014, going 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA over 38.1 innings. If Seattle can win one of the first 2 games in this series, they will have a great opportunity to take the series with Oakland.

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