By Shannon Drayer
Some quick notes after the Mariners’ 4-3 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday:
• Felix Hernandez was removed from the game after six innings and 97 pitches because he tweaked his back making a throw to second in the sixth. Felix said he felt “a pinch” in his back when he spun to make the throw. The back stiffened up on him after the sixth and he was not allowed to return.
The back issue that forced Felix Hernandez to leave after six innings Tuesday night doesn’t appear to be serious. (AP)
“I didn’t want to take any chances sending him back out there,” manager Eric Wedge said. “I wanted to send him back out there, he wanted to go back out there, but I wasn’t going to take any chances.”
The six innings thrown by Felix matched his lowest innings total for a game this year. These innings were taxing innings as the leadoff batter reached base five of six times. Still, he battled and left the game with a 3-1 lead. He did not get a decision in the game and his ERA did not budge from the American League-leading 1.53.
Back to the back. Felix, who’s been dealing with minor back issues for some time now, had his back iced after the game and they will see how it feels Wednesday. Neither Felix nor Wedge believes he’s dealing with anything serious right now. Wednesday will tell the tale.
• Quite a few of you were asking why Charlie Furbush and not Oliver Perez was called upon to pitch with one on and one out in the seventh. Wedge had mapped out what he wanted to do with the pen with the 3-1 lead and figuring that he would use Lucas Luetge and Carter Capps situationally after Furbush he would then need someone who could get lefties and righties out after Capps left the game. So he held back Perez for later, more versatile help thinking Furbush and the others would be able to hold the lead. That, of course, did not happen.
I checked the numbers when Furbush came in and interestingly enough he and Perez are just about the same in retiring the first batter faced and runners left stranded. Unfortunately, Furbush has been having a little trouble with the walks. I don’t find huge fault in going to Furbush in the seventh, I just would have liked to have seen him taken out sooner.
• The blown save by Furbush was the second for the entire team this season.
• Strange play in the fourth when Felix and Kendrys Morales attempted to cover first on a ball that was hit to Robert Andino at second by Lyle Overbay. Morales made the play but Felix was called for obstruction despite the fact that Overbay was a few steps from the bag when the play was made. The explanation for the call given to a pool reporter from crew chief Jerry Layne and third-base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt is below.
“Any time the runner is obstructed before first base, the ball is dead. He’s awarded first base, and any runner that could be forced is awarded [his base]. That’s why [Vernon Wells] was given second base. What had happened was when they went to field the ball, the pitcher and the first baseman were going toward the bag. There was a second there when neither one of them knew who was going to cover, in my opinion. I don’t know that, but that’s what it looked like. But the person that didn’t receive the ball, which was the pitcher, obstructed the runner going to first base. Per that rule, any time it happens before first base, the ball is dead. That clarifies it. Eric [Wedge] said it didn’t happen before first base, and that’s what the discussion was about.”
Wendelstedt was then asked whether or not it mattered that the baserunner was two steps away from the bag before the obstruction happened.
“We have a clarification in the baseball rules interpretation manual. Only one fielder can be in the act of fielding the ball. Now that fielder [in this case] was the first baseman. So that’s where the obstruction came in because there were multiple fielders fielding the [throw]. Now there’s a couple of different kinds of obstruction. But on the type of play like this, which was a ground ball, it doesn’t matter if the runner is 89 feet away when he gets obstructed or if he’s one inch away. If he is obstructed before first base, the ball is dead and he is awarded first base.”
So there you go. One final note: On that play Felix’s leg was clipped by Overbay as he crossed the bag. Felix hopped around a little bit but said after the game he suffered no injury on that play.
• Kuma Wednesday.