You want a good example of how Felix Hernandez has become a true professional baseball player?
He didn't freak out last night after yet another loss. A lot of players would have been pretty upset following yet another outing where run support was more scarce than people over 30 who like Lady Gaga.
What did manager Don Wakamatsu have to say about yet another loss?
“We’ve got to score runs to have a ballgame,” he said.
Well, you can’t score runs when you go for 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and strand 10 runners on base.
“It’s been 18 innings since we’ve scored for Felix,” Wakamatsu said “It’s got to wear on a young guy like him.”
The numbers only get worse. In his nine losses, the Mariners have scored a total of seven runs when he was pitching.
The Seattle hitters know they are to blame.
“We’re simply not giving him any run support,” said left fielder Michael Saunders.
But if the Mariners ace is frustrated, he won’t admit it. He won’t blame his teammates.
“I can’t complain,” he said. “That’s baseball. It happens. What do you want me to answer? I got nothing.”
Well let me complain -- this is ridiculous. It's unacceptable.
Hernandez wasn’t perfect. But against a tough Rangers lineup, he worked six scoreless innings, retiring 14 straight batters at one point.
And yet, at the start of the seventh inning, he still wasn’t in line for a win since the Mariners (40-69) couldn’t scratch out even one run for him.
It’s not like they didn’t have opportunities. Over the first six innings, the Mariners stranded eight runners and were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
“We had plenty of opportunities from the first inning on to get a couple of runs,” Wakamatsu said. “We haven’t been able to drive guys in.”
It didn’t give Hernandez much room for mistakes. And he made one big one in the seventh.
After giving up a single Vlad Guerrero to start the seventh inning, Hernandez got the dangerous Nelson Cruz to fly out to center.
But for the second straight night, David Murphy punished the Mariners with one swing of the bat. The left-handed hitter swung at the first pitch he saw from Hernandez – a 95 mph fastball on the outside of the plate – driving the ball deep toward the wall in left field.
Saunders tracked the ball all the way off the bat and made a leaping attempt to try and rob Murphy of a home run. Saunders crashed hard into the wall and fell to the warning track. For a moment, it appeared that he might have it. But he got up without the ball and the Rangers had a 2-0 lead.
“I got turned around,” Saunders said. “And I kind of lost track of where I was on the warning track and slammed into the wall.”
Saunders was removed from the game in the next inning.
“My shoulder took almost all of the impact,” he said. “But I will be fine.”
Hernandez wore a look of disbelief on the play. It wasn’t so much that Saunders didn’t make the catch, but that Murphy hit the ball that far.
“I didn’t think that ball was going out,” Hernandez said. “Good pitch in this ballpark? No way. That’s just my luck. I just can’t believe it.”
Hernandez wouldn’t make it out of the seventh. He got another out, but a walk to Mitch Moreland and two more singles to Andres Blanco and Elvis Andrus, whose grounder up the middle scored another run, chased Hernandez (7-9) from the game.
A 3-0 deficit with three innings to play isn’t impossible for the Mariners to overcome, just improbable.
But the lead ballooned to 6-0 in the eighth as Nelson Cruz dropped in an RBI double in front of a sliding Franklin Gutierrez off of reliever Jamey Wright. Bengie Molina added a sac fly. And then Mariners reliever Chris Seddon, who came in for Wright, threw a pair of wild pitches to score another run.
Still, Wakamatsu knows it was another wasted start for Hernandez in a season full of them.
“All games are defined by whether you can pitch ahead or behind, and he’s never had a chance in his last outings,” he said. “If you can spot him a couple of runs, it a different ballgame.”
Hernandez tried to remain optimistic about the season and future run support, even if he has little reason to be.
“It’s not over yet,” he said. “We just got keep working hard. I got 10 more starts.”
- Rangers move to 10-3 vs. Seattle this season and have won 9 of the last 11. They move to 5-1 at Safeco Field this season. It was the Rangers 5th shutout win this season.
- Starter Tommy Hunter recorded his 10th quality start in 12 chances this season. The 5 strikeouts were his most since 7/8 vs. Baltimore. It was his 2nd start this season where he didn’t allow a run (last: 7/20 @ DET). Hunter is 2-0, 1.42 ERA (2 ER, 12.2 IP) vs. Seattle this season…3-2 with 2.19 ERA (9 ER, 37 IP) vs. Seattle in career.
- David Murphy has homered in back-to-back games, 5th time in his career (last: 9/5-9/8/09).
- Nelson Cruz doubled in the 2nd to extend his streak to 23 straight games of reaching base safely…hitting .370 (34x92) over those 23 games. He recorded his 22nd multi-hit game of the season and his 7th in his last 16 games.
- Josh Hamilton went 2x5 and recorded his 40th multi-hit game of the season, now tied for 3rd in the American League.
- Elvis Andrus went 2x5 and is now hitting .417 (10x24) with 4 runs, 2 RBI, 3 walks and 3 stolen bases on the Rangers current road trip. Andrus has hits in 5 of those 6 games on the trip. He recorded his 31st multi-hit game of the season and his 2nd straight.
- Vladimir Guerrero has hit safely in 9 straight games in which he started…hitting .270 (10x37) with 3 runs, 3 doubles, 1 home run, 10 RBI and 2 walks over those 9 games…recorded his 33rd multi-hit game of season (last: 7/16 @ BOS)
- Rookie Mitch Moreland walked twice to record his 1st career multi-walk game. Moreland did snap his 5-game hitting streak by going 0x2…he hit .389 (7x18) with 1 double, 1 walk, 2 runs and 2 stolen bases during the streak.
- Reliever Darren O’Day worked a scoreless 8th inning and now has 23.1 consecutive shutout innings over his last 25 appearances. It is the longest active scoreless streak in the majors.
- Starter Felix Hernandez retired 14 straight batters between the 2nd-6th innings. Felix recorded his MLB leading 20th quality start of the season and his 10th in his last 11 games. The Mariners have scored a total of 8 runs in Hernandez’s 9 losses this season. The 3 strikeouts tie a season low for Hernandez (3x last: 7/26 vs. CWS).
- Chone Figgins is hitting .404 (19x47) with 5 runs, 4 doubles, 1 home run, 3 RBI, 3 walks, 3 stolen bases and 7 multihit efforts in his last 12 games. Figgins recorded his 25th multi-hit game of the season and his 3rd straight.
- Ichiro collected 2 doubles to record his Major League leading 45th multi-hit game of the season. It was his 3 straight multi-hit game…hitting .500 (7x14) with 2 runs, 2 doubles, and 4 stolen bases during the 3 games series vs. TEX. It was his 2nd multi-double game of the season. (last: 7/29 @ CWS)
- Ichiro and Figgins are hitting a combined .560 (14x25) with 4 runs, 3 doubles, 5 stolen bases and 6 multi-hit games in the 3-game series vs. Texas.
- Franklin Gutierrez went 2x4 and recorded his 27th multi-hit game of the season…2nd on the team behind Ichiro (45).
- Russell Branyan snapped an 0x16 slump with a lead-off single in the 6th…he had 4 walks during the slump though.