Mariners SEAside Thoughts 2023: Opening Night
“Welcome back baseball…Welcome back…”
Baseball is back and so is SEAside Thoughts! The Seattle Mariners are on a mission to get to a World Series. The journey began last night in a lightning-quick pitching duel between some serious Cy Young candidates, while a healthy Ty France made a statement and won the night at the Electric Factory.
La Piedra is the best pitcher the Mariners have had in nearly a decade
Luis Castillo was absolutely filthy in what was one of the best Opening Day duels MLB had to offer. Castillo only threw 76 pitches, but that easily carried him through 6 innings as he pummeled the strike zone for 59 strikes, racking up 6 K’s, zero walks, and only 1 hit allowed. Shane Bieber was really good last night, but was nothing compared to Castillo’s brilliance. If he keeps this up, it might be a two-team race between him and Shohei Ohtani for the Cy Young award.
The Bullpen Corkscrew’s (literally) the Guardians
With Castillo on a pitch count, it was on the bullpen trio of Matt Brash, Paul Sewald, and Andres Munoz to finish the game and finish they did. The trio went three shutout innings, allowing zero runs and one of the most deadly strikeouts you’ll ever see. Matt Brash, who may be next in line of great relievers in baseball, threw an incredible slider to strike out all-star Jose Ramirez, and as Aaron Goldsmith beautifully stated, “Swing and a miss, and he corkscrews Jose Ramierez INTO THE EARTH!” Beautiful call, and a beautiful pitch. The 2022 Mariners bullpen finished 6th in the league in ERA, and I believe they will be even better in 2023.
Ty France is back
There may not have been a player with bigger swings of success and struggles in 2022 than Ty France. Before injuries affected his swing and cratered his second half, Ty France was clearly the best 1st baseman in the AL at the all-star break. When healthy, like what we saw last night, Ty France is one of the top hitters in all of baseball. In a game dominated by great pitching, France was unbothered, going 3-4 with a double and the massive "croissant bomb" game winning home run, an oppo-taco that just cleared the right field wall on a cold night in Seattle. This is the deepest lineup Seattle has had in decade, and the sky's the limit when France plays like he did on game #1.
The new rules played a roll, and they work.
We knew the new rules regarding were going to play a role this season, and the Mariners benefitted from it in all phases. Jarred Kelenic had a really solid game, and got a nice hit in between the first and second basemen. That hit would have been an easy out with the shift, so good for Kelenic to get that knock in this new era. He then quickly proceeded to take advantage of the pizza boxes...I mean the bigger bases, for an easy steal to help set a scoring opportunity in the midle of the game.
James Karinchak, the reliever for the Guardians in the fateful 8th inning, was called for a timer infraction that played a key role in J.P Crawford drawing a walk, that eventually came around to score for the Mariners in the 8th. The game was quick, action-packed, and lasted only 2 hours and 14 minutes. Baseball will change for the better because of these rules, and I can't wait to watch the game transform around it.
It was a special night, and I’m so excited to be back writing our SEAside Thoughts for you! We’ll have our weekly breakdown thoughts and observations delivered to you every week, and I can’t wait to continue this journey with you all!