A Fort Collins native and Rocky Mountain High School graduate will start opening day for the Seattle Mariners.

Marco Gonzales will take the mound on March 20 in Japan for Seattle's season opener against the Oakland A's — first pitch is at 3:35 a.m. locally if you dare want to get up and watch on ESPN.

Gonzales ends the streak of longtime Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, who had started the previous 10 season openers for Seattle.

Gonzales is coming off a career year for Seattle where he finished 13-9 with a 4.00 ERA. He struck out 145 batters and walked 32 in more than 160 innings pitched.

The Fort Collins native brings hope to this lifelong Mariners fan. Gonzales was acquired in a 2017 trade from the St. Louis Cardinals.

And I'm not the only he's impressed. Mariners manager Scott Servais, who played for the Colorado Rockies in 2000, felt he was good enough to take the torch from one Seattle's most beloved pitchers in franchise history.

 

Michael Mason