Opening Day lineups and a pregame crowd crunch

It’s 12:10 a.m. Seattle time and the Mariners are lining up for a team picture on the Tokyo Dome field, with about 500 fans pushing forward to get their own picture from as close as possible to the rail. Police bullhorns are blaring as they try to get crowd control.

My hunch is this is largely about Ichiro as well as Munenori Kawasaki and Hisashi Iwakuma, since the A’s have been on the field warming up for 30 minutes and nobody is paying any attention to them.

As much as everyone wants to make this a normal Opening Day, there’s nothing much normal about this week in Japan for either the Mariners or A’s. But they’ll get going here three hours from now for real, with a 7:04 p.m. first pitch in Tokyo (3:04 a.m. in Seattle).

Manager Eric Wedge is going with the starting lineup we’ve expected the last week or so, the same one that played Sunday’s exhibition game against the Hanshin Tigers … except that guy named Felix is on the mound for Seattle and that’s usually a good thing. He’s 3-0 with a 1.70 ERA in three prior Opening Day starts, including a shutout of the A’s last year in Oakland.

Here’s the full lineup:

Chone Figgins 3B
Dustin Ackley 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Justin Smoak 1B
Jesus Montero DH
Mike Carp LF
Miguel Olivo C
Michael Saunders CF
Brendan Ryan SS

Felix Hernandez RHP

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