Seattle Mariners Game Recap: Miller, Ackley Lead M’s to Victory in 11th

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Apr 11, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen (54) pitches during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

J.A. was Happ-ening

The Mariners dealt for J.A. Happ from the Toronto Blue Jays, and the veteran southpaw made his M’s debut Saturday afternoon in Oakland. After a lack-luster spring, expectations were low for the 32-year-old, but he proved up to the task today. Happ allowed 2 runs on 7 hits across 6.1 innings pitched. For much of the day he matched A’s ace Sonny Gray pitch for pitch. Happ tallied just 1 strikeout, but he had excellent command of his arsenal of pitches.

Happ is never going to be a dominant pitcher for the Mariners, but today he showed an ability to locate pitches effectively and record ground ball outs. 54 of his 82 pitches were in the strike zone, and Happ did not issue any free passes all day. 8 of the 13 A’s Happ retired were victims of the ground out. This is a solid ratio, and suggests he was generating quality movement on his pitches.

Happ went 11-11 last season with a 4.22 ERA as a member of the Blue Jays. I expect similar numbers in a Mariners’ uniform, but hopefully playing his home games in the pitchers paradise known as Safeco Field produces a slightly lower ERA. Happ’s next outing will likely come next Friday against the Texas Rangers in Seattle.

Next: Nelson Cruz has a Big Day!