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Mariners blog

Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

April 2, 2007 at 4:32 PM

Felix through five

My oh my, what a debut this is turning into for Felix Hernandez, working on a one-hitter through five. Unfortunately, for M’s fans, it’s still a scoreless game since Jose Vidro has Seattle’s only hit with his team coming to hit in the bottom of the fifth. Hernandez has seven strikeouts already. He fanned Eric Chavez on a 1-2 pitch to open the fifth, got a groundout to first by Nick Swisher and struck Bobby Crosby out with an 0-2 fastball, ear-high, that the latter failed to check his swing on.
Hernandez at 64 pitches through five. Much better than his 36 through the opening two frames.
MARINERS GET ANOTHER BASERUNNER
Seattle caught a break in the bottom of the inning as Richie Sexson hit a routine grounder that shortstop Bobby Crosby allowed to roll between his legs for an error. Sexson advanced to second on a 5-3 groundout by Jose Guillen, but had to hold his ground on an ensuing 5-3 groundout by Kenji Johjima. Betancourt then popped out to right to end the inning. Still scoreless.
This is why it was crucial for Hernandez to reduce his pitch count after the opening two frames. Had he not doen so, he’d be on his way out this inning or next and we’d have the question-plagued bullpen trying to finish things off. Haren is still at only 66 pitches, so he and Hernandez look to have a couple of innings left in them — unusual for so early in the season. That Hernandez has thrown fewer pitches than Haren to this point is a testament to how he became more economical from the third inning onward.

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