Scott Servais hopes Félix Hernández will build on improved mechanics from Monday’s Mariners win
Scott Servais saw something out of Félix Hernández in Monday night’s 7-4 win over the Astros that he had been looking for.
“I noticed something a little bit different mechanically,” the Mariners manager told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk on Wednesday morning. “From my vantage point, (it) seemed like he was getting down the mound better. He had more extension and the ball was going where he wanted it to go. We hadn’t seen that in a while – certainly (with) his fastball.”
That game was Félix’s first start back in the rotation after a short stint in the bullpen – the first time in his pro career he was used as a reliever – and while he gave up four runs over six innings to the Astros, he passed the eye test from Servais with his scoreless final three frames.
“I thought the last three innings the other night (were) the best I’ve seen Félix probably since early in the year, maybe in the Boston game,” Servais said, referencing a June 14 game where Félix held baseball’s best offense to one earned run over seven innings. “… Later in (Monday’s) game, because he was doing things right mechanically, it was ticking up or it was holding his velocity at 91 mph – there were even a couple of 92s on the board. It’s not all about velocity, it’s more about the location with Félix, but when (he was) doing it right mechanically, he was getting great results. He didn’t have the great changeup the other night, the curveball was OK, but the fastball location was something we hadn’t seen in a long time.”
While Servais knows he saw the mechanical improvement from his the 32-year-old right-hander, he wanted to make sure Félix also recognized it. So he took Félix aside at the end of his outing to make sure.
“I wanted to hear it from him. My eyes were telling me one thing – I wanted to see if he was trying to make a mechanical adjustment a little bit,” Servais said. “Sometimes you just kinda get the feel, you get in the mode, and Félix is all about the feel and what pitches are working. … That’s why I talked to him right afterward. ‘What you got right now, put it in a jar because that’s what we need.’”
During the interview Wednesday, Servais went out of his way to mention that Félix will remain in the rotation going forward, and he pointed out how important it will be for the one-time Cy Young Award winner to repeat what he did on Monday as the Mariners continue to push for a playoff spot.
“We need him – we just need him to be competitive and keep us in the ballgame. That’s what he did the other night. Wasn’t like he shut them out for six innings, but he kept us in the game, our offense was right there helping him out and that’s what you’re gonna need.”
You can listen to the full segment with Servais in this podcast of Wednesday’s Brock and Salk show.