No worries about Felix despite 3 game slide
By Shannon Drayer
There were plenty of questions asked about Felix Hernandez after his third straight loss and by all appearances, no one, not Felix or the organization are worried about what they have seen from him in the month of September. When asked if he would look to back off Felix’s work load at all in these final weeks however Eric Wedge answered,
“When you get down to the last month or so you almost always back off a little, be it on your workload, whether it be your side days or your overall training routine. He’s going to get an extra day the next time and that means a lot.”
Wedge believes execution errors are more to blame for Felix’s recent struggles than his innings total which is now at 212.2.
“You have to trust in what you know with these guys,” he said, “and the fact is the way he works, his routine and his workload in previous years leads me to believe he is just fine. Hey its the big leagues you are not going to be perfect every time you go out.”
Pitching coach Carl Willis agrees.
“We talked briefly last night but he (Felix) knew,” he said. “I think he felt he had good stuff but he knew where he got in trouble was when the ball got too much of the plate. In that regard, particularly with the fastball, he is no different than anyone in the league. Hitters can handle fastballs. You really have to locate it and command it regardless of velocity. He just made a couple of mistakes on those pitches.”
A fastball that he he didn’t get in far enough to Adam Lind ended up getting belted out right field and another fastball, one that was thrown with two strikes, to Brett Lawrie was supposed to go down and away and instead came back over the center enough for Lawrie to shoot it up the middle and drive home two runs.
“With Lind and Lawrie it was a little bit of fastball command,” said Willis. “It could be a little bit end of the year, a lot of work, lot of starts but it is not the first time he has done there. I just think it was a location thing.”
“The stuff is still there. The velocity is fine, the action…It is just the location.”
Is there a quick fix? Both Felix and Willis believe it is little more than a matter of finishing pitches. Getting the extension and getting the hand out on the plate and through the target. No doubt that will be the focus next Wednesday.
News and notes.
The status of Kevin Millwood going forward is still up in the air as Wedge said that they are taking a wait and see approach with his shoulder. With Millwood out and Felix pushed back a day the starters for the Baltimore series which begins at Safeco Monday will be Noesi, Ramirez and Felix.
Kyle Seager is pretty sure last night’s play against Rajai Davis in the 4th inning was a first for him.
In that inning he faked out Davis who tried to take home on a bunt attempt by Jeff Mathis. Davis started out at second then advanced to third on the bunt. He would have been fine if he stopped there but Seager fielded the bunt, pump faked to first which prompted Davis to make the turn at third only to be gunned down by Seager who turned and threw to Ryan who got over to the bag in time to get Davis.
“I wasn’t expecting the bunt so I was playing back,” said Seager. “The only chance I thought for an out would be if Felix got it and threw to third but when it got by him I figured with the way that Davis could run he might take a shot at going.”
“I thought in my head I was just going to pump fake it and if he was off the bag hopefully he came off hard enough where I could run him down or Brendan could cut him off at third. It worked out perfect where he really didn’t get that far off the bag but Brendan was right there so it was perfect.”
Strangely enough it was the second straight night with such a play as Manny Machado pulled off a similar feat for the Orioles Wednesday. Seager said his wife told him about the play but he didn’t see the highlight because he didn’t have Sportscenter in Canada.
One final note…I suspected at the time that the home run Dustin Ackley hit off Henderson Alvarez was the longest of his career and it was. A 452 foot shot that sounded every foot of that off the bat. It was the second furthest home run hit by a Mariner this year (Carlos Peguero holds the top spot with a 453 blast off James Shields) and the third hardest off the bat at 112.2 mph (Pegureo 114.1, Montero 113.0 off Esmil Rogers).