After Felix Hernandez threw 125 pitches in eight shutout innings in a 2-1 loss Thursday, manager Eric Wedge was asked if he was comfortable allowing his ace to throw so many pitches early in the season.
“Felix had an extra day between his last start and his start against Cleveland,” Wedge said. “And he’ll get an extra day with the off-day on Monday before his next start.
“That figured into our decision.”
That said, Wedge acknowledged he thought Felix had earned the chance to try to work through a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth inning against the Indians – and gave it to him.
“In the time I’ve been here, that inning ranks right up there with anything I’ve seen him do,” Wedge said Friday. “When guys dig deep like that, it says a lot about them.
“That was impressive. Given his pitch count and the point the game was in, it was a special effort from a special pitcher.”
Hernandez left after eight innings, leading 1-0, and the Mariners lost the game in the ninth inning.
Jesus Montero was behind the plate for the fourth time in 15 games, a pace the Mariners think will likely keep up during his first season in Seattle.
“There’s just so much that goes on back there,” Wedge said. “People don’t understand, if we caught Montero every day, it would take him longer to become the complete player we think he’ll be.
“We’re going to let him develop, we’re not going to force it. There’s no need to force it.”
Mike Carp was scheduled to play the outfield for Tacoma on Thursday but was the designated hitter instead, and Wedge was asked the obvious question: What happened?
“Mike slept wrong on his arm,” Wedge said. “He’s not 100 percent yet, but he’s coming along.”
Did that seem an odd excuse?
“You hear it happen three, four times a season,” Wedge said. “It doesn’t happen to managers.”
Hernandez has 86 career wins, but in the aftermath of his no-decision Thursday – when he didn’t allow a run in eight innings – here’s an interesting statistic. That start against Cleveland was the 16th of his career in which he pitched seven or more innings, allowed one or fewer runs and got a no-decision. … Ruppert Jones, the Mariners’ All-Star representative in the 1977 season, threw out the ceremonial first pitch as part of Seattle’s 35th anniversary celebration throughout the season. … The Mariners have had five of their first 15 games decided by one run. In those, they’ve gone 2-3. … With left-hander Chris Sale starting for Chicago on Friday, the Mariners started seven right-handed hitters. “Early in the season, we’ll stick with that approach pretty strictly,” Wedge said. “We’ve got to give some guys a break – early in the season we’ve had sore legs, small things you have to be aware of – and we want to get everybody involved.”
Seattle hosts the Chicago White Sox in a 1:05 p.m. game that will be televised on Ch. 13. Probable starting pitchers: Chicago’s Philip Humber (0-0,1.69) vs. Blake Beavan (1-1, 2.70).
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