Mariners Notebook: Teoscar Hernández finding groove in multiple ways

Apr 5, 2023, 11:58 AM

Mariners Teoscar Hernandez...

Teoscar Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners reacts after his home run on April 4, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Mariners snapped a four-game losing streak on Tuesday with an 11-2 win over the Angels, and they’re looking to get their first series win of the year on Wednesday. To get that win, Seattle will need to get through one of the best talents in baseball: Shohei Ohtani, who will be on the mound for Los Angeles.

Mariners lineup

Julio Rodríguez, CF
Ty France, 1B
Eugenio Suárez, 3B
Cal Raleigh, C
Teoscar Hernández, RF
Kolten Wong, 2B
AJ Pollock, DH
Jarred Kelenic, LF
J.P. Crawford, SS

Chris Flexen, SP

Angels lineup

Taylor Ward, LF
Mike Trout, CF
Shohei Ohtani, DH
Hunter Renfroe, RF
Brandon Drury, 2B
Jake Lamb, 1B
Luis Rengifo, SS
Logan O’Hoppe, C

Shohei Ohtani, SP

Facing Ohtani

To get that first series win of the year and end the homestand at 3-4, the Mariners will have to get to Ohtani, the two-way superstar who won AL MVP in 2021.

“Obviously he’s super talented,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said before Wednesday’s game. “You’re hoping that you can get the pitch count up. It’s hard to string together four, five, six consecutive hits off him just because the stuff is so good, and he’s a really good competitor on top of it.”

Ohtani’s numbers against the Mariners have been stellar, as he posted a 0.95 ERA in three starts last year and has a career 1.66 ERA in six starts against Seattle.

“The one thing I will say is every time we’ve seen him, he makes adjustments and will do some different things that maybe we hadn’t seen in the past just based on his feel out there, how he’s attacking our hitters,” Servais said.

In his lone start of the year, Ohtani threw six scoreless innings on opening day against the Oakland A’s in a 2-1 loss. He struck out 10 and allowed two hits and three walks.

Teoscar Hernández breaks out

It was tough sledding at the plate to start the 2023 season for new Mariners outfielder Teoscar Hernández. The two-time Silver Slugger had just one hit in 17 at-bats across Seattle’s first five games with seven strikeouts. He certainly made a big impression on Tuesday, though, hitting not one but two tape-measure blasts in the Mariners’ big win.

“It takes a while (to get comfortable) anytime you come to a new club. The regular season is so different than spring training. The lights are on, the pitching is real, it just changes so much,” Servais said. “He needed a night like last night, and hopefully it carries over. I’ve often said that guys who can hit home runs, they come in bunches … I really like what we saw last night. And when he hits them, they’re gone. They’re no-doubters.”

Hernández is known for his bat, but he’s made a few nice defensive plays so far, including a sliding catch and throwing a runner out at home plate.

Servais said Hernández has made a lot of effort to improve defensively.

“He wants to be much more consistent in the outfield, and it starts with his reads. I think he’s made a number of nice plays,” Servais said. “… He’s played really well in the outfield and he knows that he needs to be more consistent out there and he’s putting a lot of work in and effort on that side of the ball.”

Hernández’s personality is one that fits the Mariners well, too.

“I just can’t say enough about the person that he is just getting to know him a little bit and how he engages with his teammates and the whole thing,” Servais said. “It’s really been refreshing, and it’s been a great fit for our club. It’s an even greater fit when he gets home runs like he did last night, so we’ll see more of that soon.”

Catch the Mariners live in action against the Angels on Seattle Sports, with first pitch at 1:10 p.m.

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Mariners Notebook: Teoscar Hernández finding groove in multiple ways