Another comparatively rough start from Felix Hernandez, on a night when he was facing Chicago ace Chris Sale for the first time, resulted in an 11-4 loss to the White Sox Friday night at Safeco (box score) ,thanks in large part to another bullpen fiasco.
After DH Mark Trumbo put the Mariners back in the game with a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to trail 4-3, Seattle turned to Fernando Rodney in the eighth. Yeah, you’ve heard this one before. Rodney failed so badly that the Mariners turned to LHP Rob Rasmussen and his 14.09 ERA to try to clean up the mess. Rasmussen came on with the bases loaded, issued back-to-back walks for two runs and, well . . . you can guess the punchline. Rodney Rasmussen and David Rollins gave up seven runs in the final two innings.
Hernandez was off to a good start – hey, he made it through the second inning — but he ended up having another tough night. A two-run double in the sixth made for four runs off nine hits over six innings. It marked the fourth time in his past five starts that Hernandez allowed four or more runs in a game. Over those five starts, he has an 8.47 ERA. Nobody’s talking about him in the Cy Young Award voting anymore. Since July 29, Hernandez’s season ERA has gone up more than a run, from 2.69 to 3.74. Then there’s that Seattle bullpen . . .
The Mariners struck out 16 times, but that’s not shocking when Sale is pitching. Chicago’s prized lefty recorded double-digit strikeouts for the 12th time this season, and the 30th in his career, while holding Seattle to four hits – the big one Trumbo’s three-run homer in the seventh. Sale’s only blemish in the first six innings came on a leadoff double in the first – a controversial hit that could have been ruled an error – before Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano opened the seventh with back-to-back singles. That set the table for Trumbo to hit his seventh homer as a Mariner. Cruz extended his streak of games reaching base to 31, then added his 37th home run of the season in the meaningless ninth.
“Yeah. I feel great.” – Hernandez, asked if he was healthy.
Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon was ejected for the fourth time this season, this time in the eighth inning . . . Before Friday’s game, the Mariners placed LHP Joe Beimel on the 15-day disabled list. The 38-year-old reliever, who allowed 10 earned runs while retiring six hitters over a five-game span, was diagnosed with posterior inflammation in his pitching shoulder. Rasmussen was recalled from Tacoma . . . CF Austin Jackson struck out three times, making him 2-for-33, with 15 strikeouts, in his career against Sale . . . Friday marked the first game at Safeco Field since RHP Hisashi Iwakuma’s no-hitter nine days earlier. Before the end of Friday’s game, an American League pitcher (Houston’s Mike Fiers) already recorded another no-no. For those who just can’t get enough, the Mariners plan to host an Iwakuma no-hitter celebration Monday night at Safeco.
Mariners LHP Vidal Nuno (0-1, 3.67 ERA) returns to the mound at 6:10 p.m. Saturday for his fourth start of the season. The White Sox counter with rookie LHP Carlos Rodon (5-5, 4.42 ERA).