Felix Hernandez deals to Adam Eaton of the Diamondbacks during the first inning of today’s game.
Just got done the fifth inning, with the Mariners scoring twice on a solo homer by Brad Miller and an RBI single by Brendan Ryan to cut the D-Backs’ lead to 5-3. Felix Hernandez threw 38 pitches over three innings of one-run ball today, the only blemish being the Erik Hinske homer. Hernandez then threw another 15 pitches in the bullpen afterwards, building arm strength for his next outing — in which he hopes to throw 65 pitches. See Hernandez speak after his outing in the video below.
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Hector Noesi came in after Hernandez, walked a pair of batters, then yielded a three-run homer by Mark Teahen that made it a 4-0 lead for Arizona. Noesi just looks awful out there this spring.
Another pitcher who has had his struggles, Lucas Luetge, yielded a single to Josh Wilson, a walk, and then an RBI single to Paul Goldschmidt in the top of the fifth that put Arizona up 5-1 at the time. Luetge had a solid start to 2012 but faded as the season wore on and was used less and less in high leverage spots. While many assume he’ll make this year’s squad, that might not be a safe guess considering Luetge has Class AAA options left — unlike last year when the Mariners had to keep the Rule 5 pick in the majors — and two other lefties for the bullpen in Oliver Perez and Charlie Furbush. Luetge has given up 11 hits in six innings this spring and with the Mariners already paying Perez seven figures to be their late situational and set-up guy from the left side, you’d have to think carrying two such pitchers is a bit luxurious for a squad that could have a roster crunch late this spring.
In other words, Luetge will have to step it up.
1:30 p.m.: Erik Hinske opened the scoring in the second inning with a one-out solo homer to right field off of Felix Hernandez. Hinske is a former AL Rookie of the Year from 2002 who I covered in Toronto a decade ago. He has since become a platoon left-handed bat off the bench for several teams, earning the distiction of playing in three straight World Series for three different teams with Boston in 2007, Tampa Bay in 2008 and the Yankees in 2009. First player ever to do that.
Hernandez retired the side in order in the third inning, getting former teammate Josh “Paperboy” Wilson on a flyout, Adam Eaton on a popout to shortstop and a strikeout on Cliff Pennington. If Hernandez is done, he threw 38 pitches total.
1:12 p.m.: Felix Hernandez got the side in order in the top half of the first inning. He retired Adam Eaton on a second-pitch flyout to center, struck out Cliff Pennington, then got A.J. Pollock on an easy groundout to third.
12:30 p.m.: Those of you who read this morning’s earlier post might have noticed Jason Bay batting leadoff for the Mariners. It’s the first time Bay has done that in his entire 10-year career.
Dustin Ackley bats second and you’d have to think that’s where the team would like to have him to start the year. The Mariners have never been sold on Ackley as a leadoff guy.
Felix Hernandez takes the mound for his second Cactus League start. The Mariners have droped four of their last five games after winning 10 in a row.