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Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

March 24, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Trevor Cahill to oppose Felix Hernandez on Opening Day

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(Trevor Cahill photo by Getty Images)

Oakland manager Bob Geren made it official this morning, naming right-hander Trevor Cahill as his Opening Day (technically, Opening Night) starter on April 1 — one week from tomorrow.

I’m not positive Eric Wedge ever felt the need to officially name Felix Hernandez as his Game 1 starter, because it was always so obvious that no announcement was necessary.

Cahill, 23, broke out last year with an 18-8 record, with a 2.97 earned-run average. Hernandez, of course, won the Cy Young Award despite his 13-12 record. He had a 2.27 ERA and 232 strikeouts in 249 2/3 innings.

Cahill has a 1-3 career record against Seattle in five starts, with a 2.93 ERA. But all three losses were during his rookie season of 2009 (including a 1-0 loss in which Erik Bedard worked 8 1/3 scoreless innings). Last year, he started just once against Seattle — in Game 160 at Safeco Field. He pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just five hits, with two walks and six strikeouts, in a 9-0 Oakland victory. It was Cahill’s 18th victory.

Cahill and Hernandez have opposed each other just once, that occurring on Sept. 29, 2009. Here’s the box score. Felix out-dueled Cahill for his 18th victory. Jack Cust and Adam Kennedy were in the starting lineup for Oakland. Jose Lopez, Ken Griffey Jr., Adrian Beltre, Bill Hall and Rob Johnson started for the Mariners.

Hernandez is 9-4 with a 2.83 ERA in 17 career starts against Oakland, 1-0, 2.61 in three starts last year.

It looks like the rest of the matchups for the first series will be Jason Vargas (9-12, 3.78) vs. Brett Anderson (7-6, 2.80) on Saturday, and Doug Fister (6-14, 4.11) vs. Gio Gonzalez (15-9, 3.23) on Sunday. The Mariners then go to Texas for three, which sets up Vargas to pitch the home opener against Cleveland on Friday, April 8 at Safeco Field.

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