Notebook: Mariners already looking to King Felix to be the stopper

Apr 10, 2016, 12:16 PM | Updated: 12:20 pm
Felix Hernandez's fourth start of 2016 will have to wait after being scratched from Friday's game. ...
Felix Hernandez's fourth start of 2016 will have to wait after being scratched from Friday's game. (AP)

In the sixth game of the season, the Mariners are already looking to their ace to be the stopper.

Felix Hernandez is set to make his second start of the campaign – and first in front of King’s Court – in the finale of the three-game series with Oakland. The Mariners need a big outing from their big-game pitcher after losing the first two games of the set, which put them at 2-3 on the young season.

Mariners don’t expect to keep mashing homers

The King had the unfortunate distinction of being saddled with an opening-day loss in Texas last Monday despite allowing just one hit in six innings. The Mariners will certainly want to give Felix more run support than they did against the Rangers, when solo homers by Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager provided all the scoring for Seattle in its 3-2 defeat.

Sunday’s contest is certainly an important one for both Felix and the Mariners.

They came home to Safeco Field with momentum, but the always pesky A’s have played their brand of baseball – working the matchups, getting runners on, stealing bases and hitting the occassional home run – to already have the series won entering Sunday.

For Felix, he’ll need to avoid the pitfalls that got to Mariners pitchers not just Friday and Saturday, but also himself in the opener against Texas. In that game, walks and poor defense behind him resulted in an unraveling as the Rangers scored three runs in the fifth inning, which was all they needed to give Felix his first-ever opening-day loss. Not only that, eyes will most assuredly be on his velocity and willingness to challenge batters with his fastball, which were causes for corcern in his first start of the year.


• The Mariners’ struggles against left-handed pitching continued Saturday night. They struck out 10 times against Oakland starter Rich Hill, who allowed just just five hits and a walk in six innings. The A’s turned to another lefty, Marc Rzepczynski, for the final two frames, and his only blemish was a walk. Seattle enters Sunday’s game with a season average of .167 against left-handed pitchers.

• Mike Montgomery’s move to the bullpen has been so far, so good. The 26-year-old southpaw threw a perfect inning on Saturday night, including a strikeout, and now has three scoreless, hitless innings to his credit in 2016. He’s only allowed one base runner on a walk.

Here’s the lineup for the series finale with Oakland. Nelson Cruz, playing right field, is the only right-handed hitter in the batting order against A’s righty Chris Bassitt. Switch-hitting shortstop Ketel Marte is also starting.

No starting pitcher.

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Patchy Fog then Partly Sunny
High 73° | Low 54°
No game today.

Brent Stecker

Mariners Cal Raleigh...
Brent Stecker

The Mariners found the perfect way to finally end the drought

There was only one path for the Mariners to get back to the playoffs, and two products of that path delivered Seattle's clinching victory.
3 days ago
Mariners J.P. Crawford Jarred Kelenic...
Brent Stecker

State of the Mariners: Where things stand with magic number at 2

The Mariners' magic number is down to two. We detail what that means, plus everything you need to know about the playoff race and the team.
5 days ago
Mariners Mitch Haniger...
Brent Stecker

Where Mariners’ quest for playoff spot stands after collapse in KC

How fans should be feeling about the Mariners' chances of ending their postseason drought in less than two weeks and how they are actually feeling right now are probably two different things.
9 days ago
Mariners Harry Ford...
Brent Stecker

Top Mariners prospect Harry Ford lights up WBC qualifiers

The season for the Modesto Nuts, the Mariners' Single-A affiliate, may have ended over a week ago, but one of the Nuts' best players is continuing to rake.
14 days ago
Mariners Luis Castillo...
Brent Stecker

Mariners Takeaways: 4 things to know as playoff push hits final turn

The Mariners have 20 games left, and they sit comfortably in a playoff position. A look at the rotation, standouts and the wild card picture.
20 days ago
Mariners Ty France...
Brent Stecker

5 things that stand out after Mariners’ huge series win over Guardians

The Mariners picked up a huge series win over the Guardians this weekend.'s Brent Stecker breaks down five things to know.
1 month ago
Notebook: Mariners already looking to King Felix to be the stopper