Giants’ Home Opener vs. Mariners to be Low-Scoring Interleague Matinee

nelson cruz

Matthew Jordan

Monday, April 2, 2018 4:28 PM GMT

Monday, Apr. 2, 2018 4:28 PM GMT

The Seattle Mariners will not have big bopper Nelson Cruz in the lineup Tuesday afternoon (4:35 ET) when they visit San Francisco in the Giants’ home opener.

Seattle Mariners (2-1 O/U) at San Francisco Giants (1-3 O/U)Free MLB Pick: UnderBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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The San Francisco Giants have their home opener Tuesday afternoon in an interleague matchup against the Seattle Mariners. First pitch is set for around 4:35 p.m. ET from AT&T Park.

Because it’s an interleague matchup in a National League park, the Mariners lose the designated hitter. That’s usually Nelson Cruz, who is one of the most feared sluggers in the American League. Occasionally, the M’s shift him to the outfield for interleague games but that’s not happening here because Cruz sprained his ankle slipping on the dugout steps following a two-run homer Saturday vs. the Indians – ever notice that baseball players suffer the weirdest injuries? Cruz has hit at least 39 homers in four straight seasons and is off to a strong start, batting .333 with two dingers and four RBIs in two games.

It was the fourth time in his career that Cruz has homered in each of his first two games of a season. He also did so three times for Texas, in 2010, 2011 (when he tied a major-league record by homering in each of his team’s first four games of a season) and 2014. Cruz is the first player in MLB history who homered in his first two games of a season as many as four times. Who keeps track of this stuff?

The Mariners are also without outfielder Ben Gamel due to a strained oblique and catcher Mike Zunino with the same issue. That type of injury often takes a good four weeks to heal. The Mariners will split time behind the plate with Mike Marjama and David Freitas, who was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma to replace Zunino.

The Mariners are 16-13 all-time against the Giants. They last played in 2015, splitting four games. Seattle is 4-6 in San Francisco.

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Lights. Out.@EdiDiaz44 was just nasty. #TrueToTheBlue pic.twitter.com/f3gSXUZoKc

— Mariners (@Mariners) April 1, 2018
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Probable Pitchers: Gonzales vs. Blach

Seattle had a very solid opening series, taking two of three at home against an excellent Indians team. Edwin Diaz saved both victories and has struck out the side in both innings he has pitched. Diaz whiffed 32.0 percent of the batters he faced last season.

The Giants opened with four games at the arch-rival Dodgers and split – the losing team was shutout in each game. Second baseman Joe Panik made some history in 1-0 wins Thursday and Friday, becoming the first player ever to homer for his team in back-to-back 1-0 victories. That’s hard to believe. Panik also did it against two of the best pitchers in the sport in Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen. Meanwhile, Bruce Bochy became the first opposing manager to win 100 games at Dodger Stadium. The Giants have been hammered already by injuries to the pitching staff with ace Madison Bumgarner, fellow starter Jeff Samardzija and closer Mark Melancon all on the DL. Hunter Strickland is closing with Melancon out.

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#SFGOpeningDay 👀 https://t.co/KN4JT9sqbP

— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) April 2, 2018
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With Bumgarner hurt, the Giants’ Opening Day starter was Ty Blach, and all he did was outduel Kershaw in the 10 victory. Blach allowed three hits with three Ks and three walks over five innings. It was Blach’s first Opening Day start after 26 career starts in the majors, second-fewest of any Giants Opening Day starter since 1958. Blach has never faced the Mariners, although Dee Gordon (3-for-4) and Ryon Healy (0-for-3) have seen him. Blach’s 6-5 with a 3.83 ERA at AT&T Park in his career, compared to 4-7, 4.86 on the road.

It’s left-hander Marco Gonzales for Seattle in his season debut; he was acquired last summer from St. Louis. Gonzales made 11 appearances in 2017 including eight starts, one of those with the Cardinals, and was 1-1 with a 6.08 ERA and 1.75 WHIP. Gonzales lost to San Francisco in the second start of his career in 2014. Hunter Pence is 2-for-3 off him with a double. Buster Posey is 1-for-3 with a double. Blach and Gonzales, incidentally, both grew up not far from each other in Colorado and faced off on travel squads.

More often than not, you should lean ‘under’ in Giants home games because AT&T Park is so pitcher-friendly. That’s the MLB pick here, especially as the Giants have scored only two runs thus far and Seattle won’t have Cruz’s big bat.

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