Not even the great Felix Hernandez was immune to the late-season implosion of the Mariners pitching staff. Five days removed from dominating the Angels, Hernandez Tuesday in Toronto took on a mightier foe in the Blue Jays, second in the American League in home runs and OPS. He was crushed.Seattle (83-74) suffered a devastating 10-2 loss, the fourth in a row and by a cumulative score of 42-10. Kansas City (86-71), on the other hand, delivered a similar beating to Cleveland, 7-0, that put the Royals three games ahead of the Mariners for the second wild-card berth with five games to go. Oakland (86-70), holding the top wild-card spot, played Anaheim late Tuesday.
A brutal fifth inning proved to be the ruin of Hernandez. The AL Cy Young Award favorite carried a 2-1 lead and a streak of 11 consecutive retired batters with him as he took the mound. Just as the Mariners season flipped on a dime over the last three weeks, so did Hernandez.
Wary of walking speedy rookie outfielder Dalton Pompey, Hernandez grooved a 3-1 fastball that Pompey hammered for his first career home run. That tied the game at 2-2 and spurred a seven-run inning in which the Blue Jays sent 13 to the plate against Hernandez (14-6, 2.34 ERA).
Fellow rookie Anthony Gose followed with a double and moved to third on a bunt single by Josh Thole. Ryan Goins made the first out with a sacrifice fly to left field. After a single and two walks, the latter to Edwin Encarnacion with the bases loaded, Adam Lind dropped a single in front of Michael Saunders in right field to make it 5-2. The final out of Hernandez’s 44-pitch inning came when the defense was unable to turn a double play out of Munenori Kawasaki’s soft ground ball.
Toronto had six hits and three walks in an inning that lasted nearly a half-hour. Hernandez lasted 4.2 innings and gave up eight hits. The eight runs matched a career high. He struck out five in what was likely his final start of the season, presuming contention is no issue by the weekend.
Hernandez finished a four-game run in which Seattle starters pitched to a cumulative 16.57 ERA without completing five innings.
Robinson Cano provided a 2-1 lead when he delivered a two-out single with the bases loaded in the third inning. It seemed a critical at-bat at the time, trailing 1-0 against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, proving to be inconsequential.
Manager Lloyd McClendon has been constant in his protecting of Hernandez, rarely letting him pitch deeper than seven innings or 110 pitches. He responded with a sterling 0.96 ERA over his four September starts, but had the worst single inning of his major league career.
STUNNING is the only word i can offer……………..
I will admit that McClendon has the slowest hook in baseball history: What is he waiting for? The seas to part???
Game after game he leaves the starters ij when it is OBVIOUS they don’t have it.
This is NOW time and the bullpen MUST be used, even if the game is early.
What game is he watching???
I wouldn’t give Felix the quick hook either. The man is a proven commodity. He’s the best pitcher in the AL and came into this game with a 0.96 ERA in his last four starts. This is simply a team that wasn’t ready for a penant race just yet. They will be next season.
If a pitcher doesn’t have it the guy needs to be pulled, esp when there is a superb relief staff, as the M’s have. After the game, Felix said he didn’t have his fastball, which is critical for his change-up to be effective. The pitching coach and Lloyd should have seen the fastball was ineffective and pulled him.
They DID pull him but it was way too late.
Turn off the lights the party is over and what is done is done. Wait for next year. We are only a bat away from a title. Well, two or three bats.
And two starters.
“The AL Cy Young Award favorite…”
According to whom? Felix has had another great season but I’m not ready to hand him another Cy just yet. Cleveland’s Corey Kluber is second in the AL in wins (17) and strikeouts (258), fourth in ERA (2.53), sixth in WHIP (1.10). Why isn’t HE the “favorite?” Or Jon Lester? Or Jered Weaver? Or Max Scherzer?
Nobody’s going to win 20 games and it’s pretty wide open who gets the Cy this year. Felix has a very good shot at it (especially given the usual non-support his offense has given him), but “the favorite?” There might be people outside Seattle who aren’t ready to jump on that bandwagon.
The M’s stayed in the Wild Card hunt a bit longer than the Indians. Not sure if that helps Felix. His WHIP and hitters BA is better than Kluber’s He’s given up 30 less hits. Pitched a bit more innings but has two less wins. I think despite how he closed out he’s considered the more dominant pitcher. I don’t consider Lester, Scherzer and especially Weaver serious contenders. If Sale had a couple more wins and the White Sox a better season he’d be in the talks.
Weaver does lead the league in wins and there are still enough old-schoolers among voters who believe that’s important, especially in a toss-up year like this. Being in LA doesn’t hurt him either, with no AL pitchers in NY, Boston or Chicago really being in the running.
I agree that Felix is the better pitcher than the others in contention but the BBWAA guys don’t see him every five days like we do and he’s tucked away here in the distant Fourth Corner.
BBWAA members have the same data and look at the same factors. Much more professional than it used to be.
He’s been the favorite by every national writer I’ve read for two months.
Has everyone already forgotten his record setting 16 quality game streak???
Wow, one bad game and the guy gets thrown out?
Felix will win the Cy, even though the competition is real.