By Larry LaRue The News Tribune
CHICAGO — Felix Hernandez was still feeling tightness in his back two days after slipping on the mound in his start Sunday — and he’s no certainty to make his next scheduled start.
“He’s feeling it today, so tomorrow will be an important day for him,” manager Eric Wedge said.
Hernandez’s next start would normally be on Wednesday in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels. If he can’t go, the Mariners would have to scramble to find a starting pitcher — perhaps trying Hisashi Iwakuma or dipping into the minor leagues for an arm.
Hernandez wasn’t worried.
“When am I scheduled to start, Wednesday? I’ll start Wednesday,” he said after Sunday’s game.
Should they skip Hernandez, the team has a scheduled off-day Thursday and could reinsert him at any point after that. The concern is that Hernandez will try to rush himself and perhaps risk missing more time.
Yes, Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis will be cautious.
0-2 counts hurting Noesi
Hector Noesi had no decision in Seattle’s 10-8, 12-inning win Saturday, and though he was handed leads, he left after 41/3 innings, having allowed six runs.
Time after time, Noesi got ahead in the count, 0-2, only to allow a hit.
“Those 0-2 situations have been an issue with him all season,” Wedge said. “He was getting better over his last few starts, and you could see the improvement.
“(Saturday) was the flip side. It’s hard work getting ahead of big-league hitters 0-2, but you have to finish that off. You have to stay aggressive, but Noesi tried to place the ball where he wanted it — and he paid for it.”
Yes, he did. Noesi’s earned run average jumped from 5.01 to 5.51.
Alex Liddi has the look of a rookie who may need a little more minor league time. Just 2-for-12 on this trip, he’s fallen off against left-handed pitchers and is batting .241. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Liddi returned to Tacoma and outfielder Casper Wells returned to Seattle this week. … Moved from batting third to leading off, Ichiro hit a pair of home runs in his second game in the role. Asked about that, Wedge smiled and said: “Ironic.” … Jesus Montero had two of Seattle’s five hits Sunday, and the rookie is batting .259. … On the Mariners 12-man pitching staff, how many pitchers were drafted by Seattle? Three: Felix Hernandez, Shawn Kelley and Stephen Pryor. … Three Mariners have homered batting leadoff this season — Ichiro, Dustin Ackley and Chone Figgins. That’s done just one other time in franchise history, in 1987 by John Moses, Mickey Brantley and Donnell Nixon. … John Jaso has appeared in 27 games this season, made 21 starts, and been credited with five game-winning RBI. … The Mariners’ four-homer game Saturday was the 17th the team has had since a five-homer explosion June 7, 2006.
Seattle plays Los Angeles in Anaheim, a 7:05 p.m. game that will be televised on ROOT. Probable starting pitchers: Jason Vargas (6-4, 3.45) vs. Ervin Santana (2-6, 4.72).