After dominating the Orioles lineup for 8 innings in which he gave up just five hits and two walks while striking out 6 on 97 total pitches, Mariners Manager John McLaren pulled Felix Hernandez and sent in Eric O’Flaherty to close out the game, the Mariners clinging to a 2-0 lead.
Now that J.J. Putz is on the DL someone has to step up and show that they can hold down that role till he returns but why force it? Felix was absolutely dealing and hadn’t hit the century mark in pitches yet [for a comparison — Erik Bedard threw 110 in his first start]. At least send him out there to finish what he started, get the win to end the losing streak and right your momentum. If he shows signs of faltering you have Lowe ready to come in.
But why, in the name of God, would you send in O’Flaherty to start the inning?! What closing experience does he have?
It makes me SICK! Hernandez should be 2-0 right now with an ERA of 0.00 through 16 innings. Absolutely RIDICULOUS! Instead he’s 0-0 with same ERA thru 15. I really hope the bullpen not only apologizes to Felix and buys him dinner but makes it up to him in spades down the line by pitching 3+ scoreless innings when Felix struggles, allowing the M’s to comeback and get the win and Felix the win. They owe him big time.
Besides the bullpen in shambles all of a sudden the Mariners have some serious lineup issues. Sexson seems to be on his way to a solid season — he’s at least being patient at the plate and has come up with some clutch hits. That’s certainly more than we can say for Ichiro, Raul Ibanez, Kenji Johjima, Jose Vidro and Brad Wilkerson. Aside from Jose Lopez, Yuniesky Betancourt (who’s raking) and Adrian Beltre, the Mariners hitters aren’t doing much of anything at the plate.
Hopefully McLaren will notice this sooner rather than later and make some much needed changes. Start with letting your ace starters at least TRY to finish what they started and follow that up with playing Morse and sitting Wilkerson. Vidro should be on a short leash nevermind those fluke early homers.