Felix Hernandez has pitched the opener five seasons for the Mariners but says this sixth one should be the most surprising for those not in the clubhouse.

"We're going to be good," Hernandez said. "We're going to surprise people."

One can hardly fault Hernandez for being enthusiastic given the improved run support he should finally start seeing. The days of hoping voters look past a 13-win season in Cy Young Award voting should be a thing of the past for Hernandez with a bolstered middle of the order that just set a franchise record for Cactus League home runs.

"What I see is that we've got more offense," said Hernandez, whose team opens in Oakland on Monday after facing the Colorado Rockies in an exhibition game Saturday in Salt Lake City. "We're always together right here in the clubhouse. We're having a lot of fun. And that's the difference."

The Mariners scored 794 runs in 2007 and contended until early September. That run total fell to 671 in 2008, 640 in 2009, a historically low 513 in 2010, then 556 runs in 2011 and 619 last year. Strong pitching the past four years — ranging from the 651 runs allowed last year to 698 in 2010 — has been the team's strength, but was rarely enough to mitigate the putrid offense.