MLB Preview: Mariners vs. Athletics Kicks off Regular Season in Japan

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MLB Preview: Mariners vs. Athletics Kicks off Regular Season in Japan

Seattle Mariners (Felix Hernandez 13-13 in 2011) vs. Oakland Athletics (Brandon McCarthy 9-9 in 2011)  6:10 ET at Tokyo Dome 

 

The 2012 MLB season is here.

King Felix and the Mariners take on the rebuilding Oakland A's at the Tokyo Dome. And even though Opening Day taking place in Japan during the wee hours of the morning broadcast only on the par-per-view MLB.tv may seem obscure and annoying, you can follow all the action inning by inning right here with updates throughout the game.

 

Preview

While the Mariners and A's aren't exactly marquee franchises, Opening Day starters Hernandez and Oakland's Brandon McCarthy are two young studs that are trying to start their 2012 campaigns strong. While King Felix and McCarthy are two very different pitchers, both can take control of a ballgame once they find their groove through the opposing lineups.

Hernandez will rely heavily on mowing down the opposing A's hitters, getting ahead early in the count and finishing them off with his live, heavy fastball. On the other hand, McCarthy is going to have to establish his ownership of the lower half of the zone and finesse his way through the Mariners, weighing heavily on ground ball outs. This may be an especially difficult task due to the hard turf surface of the Tokyo Dome, so Oakland's infielders need to be on their game defensively. 

 

Player to Watch

Aside from the die-hard A's and Mariners fans, other temporarily insomniac baseball fans should be interested to see A's rookie CF Yoenis Cespedes in his first MLB action. Cespedes signed the second-largest contract in Oakland Athletics history, and this morning will be the very first indication of how he handles the live arms of the Major Leagues (and King Felix will surely be a big task for Cespedes' first day on the job).

 

Team Lineups via ESPN.com

       Seattle                                     Oakland

Chone Figgins 3B                       Jemile Weeks 2B

Dustin Ackley 2B                       Cliff Pennington SS

Ichiro Suzuki RF                        Coco Crisp LF

Justin Smoak 1B                       Seth Smith DH

Jesus Montero DH                    Kurt Suzuki C

Matt Carp LF                              Josh Reddick RF

Miguel Olivo C                          Yoenis Cespedes CF

Michael Saunders CF                Brandon Allen 1B

Brendan Ryan SS                      Eric Sogard 3B

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