Seeing David Aardsma on the mound is something every Mariners player, coach and pitcher usually wants. Especially if you’re Felix Hernandez, in search of win No. 13 for the past month or so. Aardsma closed this one out, earning Hernandez that 13th in a 6-3 win over the Kansas City Royals.
“It’s been a while,” Hernandez said.
So, Hernandez continues his Cy Young quest, at 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA.
By the way, Hernandez wasn’t feeling well at all when he woke up today. He’s been battling flu-like symptoms and got up with a massive sinus headache.
“Nothing is going to ever going to make me miss a turn,” Hernandez said. “If I’m hurt, yes. But not something like this.”
Hernandez knows what’s at-stake. He loves to compete and knows he’s in a Cy Young race.
And tonight, he pitched like it.
“He pitched a heck of a ballgame,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “From our end over there, when you know he’s not at full strength, it makes it even more special.
“He limits damage, that’s how I can describe his outings most of the time.”
Hernandez had a little fun with ex-teammate Yuniesky Betancourt, who he faced for the first time.
“I told him I was going to throw a lot of breaking balls,” Hernandez said. “So, I threw him a lot of fastballs.”
For me, the story of the night was the four defensive switches in the fifth inning after Russell Branyan tweaked his back. Most teams wouldn’t have flexibility to do that and still play excellent defense.
But as Bill Hall showed on that groundball play in the sixth, the M’s do have that abiliity.
“Just to have Bill Hall on this team gives us so much,” Wakamatsu said. “The versatility to put him in right, put him at third. We can put him in center, we could put him just about everywhere.
“We talked about putting the catcher gear on him but I don’t know if he’s for that.”
For the record, Hall isn’t. He hasn’t played catcher since Little League.
“The only three positions I haven’t played in the big leagues are first base, catcher and pitcher,” Hall said. “So, who knows what could happen before I’m done?”