Opening Day: Mariners vs. Angels

mariners3312014They're choosing different ways to go about doing it, but make no mistake: The Mariners and Angels are looking to take last year's American League West standings and turn them upside down.

This will be the Opening Day task for these two clubs starting tonight at 7:05 PT, as Seattle, which finished in fourth place of five teams in the division last year, heads to Anaheim to meet the Angels, who finished third behind the A's and Rangers at 78-84. The matchup pits Mariners ace Felix Hernandez against Angels right-hander Jered Weaver.

For Seattle, a new manager (Lloyd McClendon) and new personnel all over the roster (Robinson Cano, Logan Morrison, Corey Hart, Willie Bloomquist, Fernando Rodney, Roenis Elias) will be on display, but Opening Day will mostly be about the Mariners debut of Cano -- who signed for 10 years and $240 million -- Hernandez and the young team that surrounds them.

Saunders will be joined by shortstop Brad Miller, catcher Mike Zunino, third baseman Kyle Seager, outfielder Dustin Ackley and first baseman Justin Smoak, the young core that needs to improve for the club to jump in the standings. On the mound, young pitchers Taijuan Walker, Erasmo Ramirez, Elias and James Paxton could eventually help fill out the back of a rotation that starts with perennial AL Cy Young Award contender Hernandez and, once he gets back from a finger injury, one of last year's Cy Young finalists, Hisashi Iwakuma.

Meanwhile, the Angels are all about forgetting last year and moving on, and it's probably a bit easier to do that when you have the player widely regarded as the best all-around talent in the sport. That would be two-time AL MVP runner-up Mike Trout, and he is the key to a lineup that could become a lot more powerful in a hurry if Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton return to form after injury-laden down years. The Angels also need big seasons from Weaver and No. 2 man C.J. Wilson, with Garrett Richards and new additions Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs filling out their top five.

Mariners vs Angels

• Monday 3/31, 10:05 PM ET at Angel Stadium of Anaheim
• Radio: 1030KMAS. Pregame starts 1 hour before first pitch.

March 31, 2014/Information from mariners.com/Doug Miller

Spring Record Breakdown:
Overall.............18-12-3
Home................7-7-1
Road................11-5-2
vs. LH Starter......7-2-2
vs. RH Starter......11-10-1
Day.................14-11
Night...............4-1-3
1-Run...............4-5
X-Inn...............1-0
vs. AL..............7-6
vs. NL..............11-6-3