Felix Hernandez threw six innings of two-hit ball tonight and his team took a 3-1 lead in the eighth on a two-run single by minor leaguer Chris Taylor — the team’s fifth round selection last June out of the University of Virgina, and a former shortstop there behind Danny Hultzen. Back to Hernandez, he had all his pitches working tonight, said they felt sharp and that he’s as ready as ever to start the year.
Hernandez struck out nine batters and didn’t walk anybody, needing only 70 pitches to get through the six frames.
8:24 p.m.: Kelly Shoppach just went deep to right-center to lead of the fifth inning and give the Mariners a 1-0 lead over the San Diego Padres. Both clubs had been held to a pair of hits apiece through the fist four innings. Felix Hernandez gave up a single to Nick Hundley and then a double to left-center by Cameron Maybin in the second inning that was the first time Jason Bay had to make a play on anything as a center fielder. But Hernandez got a groundout to escape further trouble and has had little else to worry about since.
7:05 p.m.: Well, this one won’t have quite the drama of last night’s Jon Garland start since it’s some guy named Felix Hernandez taking the mound for the Mariners. I’m told he doesn’t have an “out” clause in his contract, but that it’s still a pretty good one and he’s actually been guaranteed a roster spot with 10 days to go until the regular season begins.
The folks coming after Hernandez should be interesting, since we’ll see Danny Farquhar, Kameron Loe and Carter Capps. Farquhar is looking like he’ll close for Class AAA Tacoma this year, while Loe and Capps should make the MLB squad.
This morning’s post was about Loe pretty much securing his spot last night when Carson Smith was sent down. Should have mentioned, another thing Loe brings to the table is he can go multiple innings sort of the way left-hander Charlie Furbush does. With the Mariners not really having any long guys, you need multiple inning arms and not just one-inning flamethrowers the whole way through the bullpen.