M’s notebook: Another look at run support for Felix
By Shannon Drayer
SAN DIEGO – I mentioned this in a comment on the previous post but it is worth noting again, Felix Hernandez being saddled with a no decision Wednesday night no doubt is disappointing to see (and something we have been accustomed to seeing), but the anger that was vented on Twitter and on the blog perhaps was focused in the wrong spot.
The history is certainly there, but while the run support hasn’t been good in the past, it has been this year. Not so much the last three games, obviously, but for the year he has received 4.94 runs per game, good for 21 out of 98 qualified starters this year. It hasn’t exactly been a case of same old, same old.
That said, yes, the offense is terrible right now and Felix deserves better. It is not going to happen every time out; that’s baseball. There is another pitcher on the other side and there is an element of luck as well. On that note, interestingly enough the unluckiest or most unsupported pitcher in baseball was on the hill last night in San Diego wearing a Padres uniform. Andrew Cashner has the worst run support in baseball, with his team giving him just 2.17 runs per game.
Now any loss like last night’s stings, but for Felix it was more about the team losing the game, not him losing a W. That’s how it usually is with him – not always, as his previous start might be a good example of – but his focus is getting to a postseason and last night’s loss put them one step further from that.
I think Lloyd McClendon put it into perspective nicely last night, not letting this be framed as Felix’s loss.
“It was a tough night for the Seattle Mariners,” he said. “Not just Felix.”
It’s a shift that for the fans is probably not easy to make. In recent seasons Felix’s success was about all of the success there was to be had. This year, despite the offensive shortcomings, it would appear this club could have more on the horizon. Perhaps that needs to be focused on a little bit more. Last night was a tough loss for the team. A missed opportunity for everyone, not just Felix.
Good to see James Jones back in the lineup after getting hit in the back of the head last night running to first. Jones was checked out multiple times during the game and this morning he reported that he felt no headaches or fuzziness after getting hit.
Student of the game?
I saw an interesting sight before the game in the clubhouse this morning. Roenis Elias was sitting at his locker watching a baseball game on his phone. I looked over his shoulder and saw the Red Sox and figured he was getting a look at them ahead of their visit to Safeco Field next week. I then took a closer look and saw that they were facing the Yankees and Roger Clemens was on the hill. I asked why he was watching this game.
“Roger Clemens pitching for the Yankees and Pedro Martinez pitching for the Red Sox,” he answered. “Two of the best.”
If you are going to watch baseball then why not watch the best. We know that Elias has studied the Japanese pitching mechanics and saw him pull a little Kuma in the game against the Tigers earlier this season. Should we keep an eye open for Martinez next?
• Justin Smoak went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first rehab start for the Rainiers. Michael Saunders is expected to be in the Rainiers lineup Friday and Corey Hart should be in there on Saturday.
• James Paxton continues to play catch in Seattle and I am told if all goes well this weekend he could throw his first bullpen session since being shut down again early next week.