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Moore: It could get interesting when Mariners’ Gonzales faces Astros in Game 1

Mariners LHP Marco Gonzales will start in Seattle's first game against the Astros. (Getty)

It should be interesting when Marco Gonzales faces the Astros on Opening Day in Houston on July 24. The Mariners get the first crack at the team that was found guilty of cheating with their trash can scheme that caused their manager, A.J. Hinch, to get a one-year suspension.

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When there was going to be a 162-game season with fans at the ballparks, the Astros could have expected boos, at the very least, wherever they went. Now in this coronavirus-shortened season, they’ll get off easy with no one to harass them in the stands.

I wonder how Gonzales will pitch against the Astros. Based on comments he made to us on Bob, Dave and Moore in January, I’m guessing he’ll fight the urge to throw at players who cheated.

“I’m mad at the way that they’ve acted throughout the time and the attitudes that they’ve had towards the game,” Gonzales said. “Thinking you’re above the game and thinking that it’s OK that you’re taking advantage of other guys, that’s not cool. That’s all I’m mad about.

“I’m also mad for other players who have gone in unprepared who don’t know that this is going on. We’ve known for a long time that this has been going on in our game. It’s a problem, so we’ve tried to prepare ourselves and protect ourselves as best we can, but I’m mad for a lot of other people too.”

“I’m a guy that relies on that chess match, that off-balance, the making pitches, the off-speed pitches, the changing speeds – that’s what I got and that’s when I’ve been working on for however long I’ve thrown a ball,” Gonzales added. “So when I feel that’s taken away from me because they know what’s coming, that’s my entire game. I don’t have 98 (mph), I can’t blow it by you if I want, so if you know what’s coming I have nothing to work with. If I have frustration, that’s because I’ve been working my entire life and I don’t want that to be taken away from me.”

It’s probably poor form on my part to encourage Gonzales to get revenge by throwing at the Astros. I don’t want him to go head-hunting, just rib-hunting, or somewhere else where it will really hurt.

It’s probably not worth the fine and suspension and ejection from the game for him or the Mariners. It’s no doubt better to take the high road. But I still don’t think I’m the only one who would like to see Marco take a temporary spin on the low road, to stand up and get payback in baseball’s old-school way.

Plus how much fun would it be see a benches-clearing brawl in the first game of the season? The Mariners could take a stand for every other team by saying this just isn’t OK, and we might have gone 1-18 against you guys last year, but you’re gonna respect us this year.

I don’t necessarily want cooler heads to prevail, but I suspect they will based on Marco’s final comments in January.

“I firmly believe that they’re a very, very talented team, and I don’t think that’s ever been in question,” he said. “I’m not really sure how the reaction’s gonna be to them this year. I’m not really sure. I guess I can just try to beat them. Maybe that’s the best comeback is try to get them all out and try to shut them down. If they don’t know what’s coming, I hope they all are different hitters this year.”

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jim Moore on Twitter.

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