By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
CHICAGO — Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon offered a simple, direct explanation for his decision to give starting pitcher Felix Hernandez an extra day of rest before his next start.
“I wanted to line up my best pitcher against (division-leading) Oakland,” McClendon said. “It made sense to make that adjustment, and it also gives him an extra day. All the stars lined up. It just made sense to do that.”
Hernandez will now start Friday’s series opener against the A’s instead of Thursday’s game against Minnesota. McClendon was far cagier in revealing what stars lined up for Thursday’s game.
“That’s yet to be determined,” he said. “I’ll let you know when I know. We have options. I’ll let you know when I figure out what they are.”
The switch left Hernandez non-plussed.
“I’ve just got to go out there and do my job,” he said. “That’s all I’ve got to do.”
McClendon said he had pondered such a switch for Hernandez “for four weeks.” He also said the change takes into account Hernandez possibly pitching, or even starting, in the All-Star Game.
The Mariners resume play after the All-Star break against second-place Los Angeles in Anaheim, Calif. Hernandez will, presumably, start one of those games.
“I’d be foolish if I didn’t want Felix facing Oakland and Anaheim,” McClendon said. “It just makes sense.”
White Sox third baseman Conor Gillespie left the game after getting hit in the right knee by a pitch from Dominic Leone in the fifth inning. … Umpiring crew chief Dana DeMuth, who was at second base, left the game after bumping into White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham in the fourth inning. … Leone and Brandon Maurer each pitched two hitless innings. This was the ninth time in Mariners history that they lost a game while allowing two or fewer hits. The Mariners were shut out for the 10th time this season. … The Mariners lowered their league-leading bullpen ERA to 2.47. … Prior to Saturday’s 3-2 victory, the Mariners had never had a game when they permitted four or fewer hits in 14 or more innings.
Outfielder Alex Jackson, the Mariners’ first-round pick, is off to a fast start at Peoria in the Arizona Rookie League He went 2-for-5 with three RBI in Saturday’s 10-3 victory over the Diamondbacks.
Jackson, 18, is 11-for-32 (.344) through eight games with a .389 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage.
Outfielder Gareth Morgan, the club’s second pick, had his first multi-hit game in Peoria’s victory. He is 6-for-25 (.240) in eight games but has eight walks for a .441 on-base percentage.
It was 20 years ago today — July 7, 1994 — that Randy Johnson became the Mariners’ all-time leader in victories by getting his 75th in a 4-3 victory at Boston.
Johnson surpassed Mark Langston, who had 74 victories from 1984-89.
Jamie Moyer now holds the franchise record with 145 victories from 1996-2006. Johnson ranks second with 130 from 1989-97. Hernandez is third with 120 in a career that began in 2005.
The Mariners open a seven-game homestand today with the first of four games against Minnesota at Safeco Field. The pre-break schedule concludes next weekend with three games against Oakland.
Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (6-4 with a 3.33 ERA) will face Minnesota righty Kevin Correia (4-10, 4.95) at 7:10 p.m. Monday in the series opener. Root Sports will carry the game.