After a rather rudimentary loss to the Texas Rangers on Monday evening, the Seattle Mariners took one from the visiting team on Tuesday night to even the series at a game apiece. Unfortunately, manager Lloyd McClendon has grown rather keen on extending Felix Hernandez‘s days of rest in recent weeks. Not to the detriment of Hernandez of course, who has been incredible all season. More so to the overall detriment of McClendon’s ball club.
Rather than sending Hernandez to the mound and all but guaranteeing the Mariners a 2-1 series win over the lowly Rangers, McClendon marched Erasmo Ramirez (1-6, 5.21 ERA) out to the mound. He was his usual unreliable self, getting blasted for nine hits and 10 earned runs in three innings of work. Game over. Series over.
Winning games before their ace is set to take the mound has been an issue for Seattle all season long. They are 11-16 in the game before Hernandez pitches. A lot of factors come into play here, such as matchups, home/away or who gets the nod/call-up as the fifth starter on that given day. It’s fairly typical that not many teams have a great deal of success in games before their ace pitches. A No. 5 guy in the rotation is the No. 5 guy for a reason.
Wednesday was no different. Not only did the M’s lose at home, but they lost badly to one of baseball’s thinnest lineups, no less. It’s nice to plan for the future when the playoffs are a potential reality. But it can also be said that living in the present and seizing the day should be all the more important too.
McClendon took a gamble and it did not pay off. In doing so, Hernandez will get his extra day of rest on Thursday when the Mariners are off. He will then get to face Jordan Zimmerman and the white hot Washington Nationals on Friday evening. If Hernandez does not factor in the decision on Friday and the Nats win, the question must be posed — did squandering Wednesday’s strong chance to win the series over the Rangers make any sense to begin with?
For McClendon’s sake, he had better hope King’s Court is in session Friday night under the lights at Safeco against a team that is 7-3 over their last 10 games, proudly owners of the best record in the NL.