Felix Hernandez is done after seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball. He lowered his ERA to 2.38, but once again will be denied a win because the Mariners did not score a single run off Dan Haren despite seven hits so far.
Seattle actually now trails 1-0 after Brandon League came on in the eighth and yielded back-to-back doubles to Alberto Callaspo and Howie Kendrick. Hernandez is no longer the pitcher of record, so he’ll stay at 10-10.
But I can’t believe Hernandez would be too happy with this decision. He’d thrown 103 pitches when taken out. His last start was six days ago in Boston, so he was working on extra rest. He’s the staff ace and he’s vying for a Cy Young.
The Mariners, though, seem committed to preserving his arm. It’s a tough one, but I don’t think sending a staff ace back out for the eighth inning on 103 pitches constitutes abuse.
Seattle is now poised to lose its 81st game after the new pitcher gave up two extra base hits to two batters when his predecessor allowed just three singles over seven innings. Tough pill to swallow — for Hernandez more than anyone.
8:30 p.m.: What do you know? It’s the bottom of the fifth inning and we’re still…scoreless! Imagine that. Felix Hernandez is pitching another gem and escaped third inning trouble when an error by Chone Figgins put a runner on third with one out.
Hernandez got Howie Kendrick to chop a ball to third and the runner was thrown out at the plate.
Now, Hernandez has retired eight of nine.
The Mariners had a chance in second inning, but more sloppy base running did them in. With runners on first and second and two out, Ichiro chopped an infield single that shortstop Erick Aybar fielded while racing across the diamond.
Lead runner Adam Moore took too wide a turn at third base, then got hung up in no man’s land as Aybar pump faked and raced towards him. Moore tried to dive back into third but was tagged out to end the inning.
So, just another night on the hill for Hernandez. He’s got a few more innings yet for his team to score a run.
7:42 p.m.: Felix Hernandez was in some second inning trouble, with the bases loaded and only one out. But Hernandez got Jeff Mathis to ground into a 6-4-3 double-play and keep things scoreless as we head to the bottom of the frame.
Hernandez has allowed two hits so far, singles in that second inning by Torii Hunter and then Erick Aybar — the latter an infield hit. He also walked Mike Napoli, but, as I said, got out of it.
The first out of the game was recorded in spectacular fashion by Hernandez as he snared a screaming line drive by Alberto Callaspo, but held on as he fell backwards.
7:08 p.m.: Felix Hernandez tries to build on his growing momentum in the AL Cy Young Award race. The Mariners have won exactly one game the last 10 days when Hernandez hasn’t been pitching, so they could use his arm tonight.
By the way, today is not the deadline to trade players who have cleared waivers. Players can be traded all the way up to the end of the season. The difference is, after today, they aren’t eligible to be on a post-season roster.
There is a difference.