Game 1 notes: Mariners 5, Athletics 3

I love you DVR.

– After seeing it for the first time, in convinced that this Ichiro-Figgins order will work. If they had to be back to back, that’s the only way to go, considering how often Ichiro puts the ball on the ground, but I wonder what affect Figgins presence will have on Ichiro.

2009 Pitches per at bat:

Ichiro: 3.75

Figgins: 4.21

Gutierrez: 4.10

Branyan: 4.11

Gutierrez and Branyan spent the most time in the two hole last year, so it’s a minor upgrade, but perhaps considering how good a contact hitter Figgins is, he’ll see more breaking balls which will lead to more Ichiro steals. Perhaps.

– Nobody is in love with Rob Johnson’s bat (or his glove, or body, apart from the paid-in-full surgeons of the 2010 offseason). However, his minor league numbers indicate he may have potential to improve. Is he a 20 homer guy? Probably not. Could he sniff double digits and 25 doubles? It’s well within reason.

But not if he’s leaning away from curveballs middle-out.

– There has been talk all season of Casey Kotchman’s bat, and the Mariners attempts to make him elevate the ball more.

His first at bat he kept his weight back, and didn’t bite on the breaking ball. By keeping his weight balanced, and allowing his wrists to explode through the ball, he can continue to drive the ball.

He didn’t do that his second at bat. His weight was all over the place, and he put an ugly swing on the ball he hit for the sacrifice fly.

His third at bat, against Blevins, made him look like a pitcher at the plate.

His fourth at bat, he put a bad swing on a bad pitch (almost the same swing and location as his weak sac fly), and sure it hit the ground, sure it should have been a base hit, but it was no indicator of added power.

His fifth was a weak line drive to center, but probably his second-best swing of the night.

-Figgins looks good at second base. But that shouldn’t have ever been a concern. It was sound logic that put him there. The question mark of the situation is, and should be Jose Lopez at third.

– As if I hadn’t gushed over Ichiggins enough, I’ve criticized Ichiro in the past for not connecting with the fans off the field, which I believe, ultimately, has a negative effect on the team. However, if Ken Griffey Jr. has done one thing (besides starting his 14th season with the team) it’s to loosen Ichiro up. The glue on the ass on the chair commercial was hilarious.

– Milton Bradley looks more comfortable unleashing a powerful swing from the right side, and his numbers bear it out.

– Because of their similar two-seamers, I wonder if in the future, it would be wise to pitch someone besides Brandon League directly after Felix (which is irrelevant to today’s game). Though League looked really nasty, his change is Trevor Hoffman-esque.

– Felix is really good, and mixed his two and four seamers well today. But the A’s offense is as bad or worse than that of the Mariners, and he won’t be able to get away with that all year long.

– David Aardsma appears to have his velocity back. That is all.

Mariners win 5-3, are 1-0 on the season, and in a three-way tight for first in the AL West.