Mariners notebook: Felix eyes milestones, significant win in Texas
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Mariners are looking for their first three-game sweep of a series this season and Felix Hernandez is looking to set a couple of records. It could be a big night tonight for the King.
Felix is 17 strikeouts away from 2,000 in his career. It would take a personal best and very improbable 17 strikeouts to reach that milestone tonight. It will probably have to wait a start or two.
Two other marks could be reached tonight here in Arlington, however. Felix needs just 4 1/3 innings to tie Jamie Moyer (2,093.0) for the club lead in most innings pitched. With six strikeouts he would take the record for most by a Venezuelan-born pitcher from Johan Santana, who currently holds it with 1,988.
The club and country records will have special meaning for Felix but there is another mark perhaps a little more personal in the short term that he is trying to set tonight as well. He is looking for his first win in Arlington since Sept. 28, 2010.
After his start against the Rangers at Safeco Field on April 17, I asked Felix why he argued with manager Lloyd McClendon to stay in the game.
“Number one, for my team,” he said. “We had lost four in a row and we needed a win. But also because I hadn’t beat those guys in two years.”
It was his first win against Texas since July 14, 2012. As good as he knows he is, it still bothered him. That’s how competitive he is. You may notice that he has toned down the antics with his good friend Adrian Beltre. There is still some bantering between the two on Felix’s off days but nothing like what we saw two, three, four years ago. Is it a coincidence that Felix’s last win against the Rangers came right before Beltre joined the team? Probably, but Felix appears to be taking no chances.
Austin Jackson, CF
Justin Ruggiano, RF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nelson Cruz, DH
Rickie Weeks, LF
Logan Morrison, 1B
Willie Bloomquist, 3B
Mike Zunino, C
Brad Miller, SS
Felix Hernandez, RHP
• Kyle Seager has been dealing with a sore thumb for over a week now after getting jammed on a pitch. He calls it a “non-issue”, but nevertheless McClendon thought it would be a good idea to give him a day off. The day off ends Seager’s streak of 146 consecutive starts.
• Will Rodney go four? Fernando Rodney has closed the last three games in a row.
• Logan Morrison has been struggling since the get-go this season. He and Robinson Cano were seen getting some extra early hitting under the watch of McClendon and batting coach Howard Johnson when we arrived at the stadium today. Cano himself is in a bit of a slump, having gone 0 for 13 on this roadtrip.
• Danny Hultzen is set to make his 2015 debut. Hultzen remained in extended spring training when camp broke as the Mariners looked to manage his innings and build arm strength. Hultzen will start for Double-A Jackson on Friday.