The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics open the 2019 MLB regular season on Wednesday morning in Japan.
Wednesday, March 20 at 5:30 AM ET
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by BetOnline
- Seattle Mariners (+116) vs. Oakland Athletics (-126)
- Over/Under: 8.5
Legendary right fielder Ichiro Suzuki will be the player to watch in this two-game series in Tokyo, he will likely start both games in possibly the last two official appearances of his Hall of Fame career and is hard to think of a better way to say goodbye from MLB than with two games in your home country.
The Mariners pretty blew up their roster over the winter, looking to rebuild the team, so this game marks the start of a new era for them.
The 27-year old left-hander Marco Gonzales will take the hill on Opening Day. Gonzales went 13-9 with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 166 2/3 innings over 29 starts last season and he posted a 4.70 ERA in 15 1/3 innings over three starts against the Athletics.
The A’s were a surprising team last season, winning 97 games. This year they still have a strong roster, even with the losses of Jed Lowrie and Jonathan Lucroy. Oakland signed Jurickson Profar and Nick Hundley to replace them and they still have Khris Davis, Matt Olson and Matt Chapman in the middle of a potent lineup and their pitching is also solid.
Fiers will make his first career Opening Day start after going 12-8 with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 172 innings over 31 games (30 starts) with the Tigers and Athletics last season. The right-hander had trouble against the Mariners last season, posting a 6.75 ERA in 14 2/3 innings over two starts.
Mariners vs. Athletics Trends and Prediction
The Seattle Mariners are:
- 2-8 in their last 10 games against a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15
- 1-4 in Gonzales’ last five starts during game 1 of a series
- 1-5 in Gonzales’ last six starts against American League West opponents
- 1-7 in Gonzales’ last eight starts
The Oakland Athletics are:
- 9-4 in their last 13 games against American League West opponents
- 8-1 in Fiers’ last nine starts
- 4-1 in their last five games against a left-handed starter
The Athletics and Mariners fought for the second American League Wild Card for most of last year but Seattle couldn’t keep up with Oakland in the end and they have a completely different team this season.
The addition of Edwin Encarnacion helps the middle of the order but the Mariners lost their ace James Paxton, their home run and RBI leader in 2018 Nelson Cruz, their best hitter Jean Segura (.304 batting average), Robinson Cano and All-Star closer Edwin Diaz.
Having Ichiro will help their motivation but there’s a significant talent gap between these teams and the pitching matchup favors the A’s.
The game is on a neutral field and Fiers is the better pitcher, he might have struggled against the Mariners last year but it was against a very different lineup. The Athletics have dangerous hitters and backing them here is the right move.
Pick: Athletics -126