That ended up being a bit closer than expected. But the Mariners managed to squeeze out a win in this one, catapulting themselves into first place in the AL West. The regular season ends tomorrow right?
Once again Chone Figgins displayed an amazing aptitude in the batters box today, going 3-5 and a mere HR shy of the cycle. Yes, you read that correctly. For the first time in his tenure here, Figgins has begun to look like a satisfactory hitter, making the tiny little voice in the back of our minds wonder–was a switch to leadoff all he needed? I’m not quite ready to chalk up his two game success to anything in particular. He’s looked good, but this isn’t a revitalization just yet. The whole offense followed suit today, with every member collecting at least one hit. Highlights included: Saunders going deep, an Ichiro triple, a Figgins triple, and Kawasaki notching his first Major League base hit.
But the aura of the game trended towards the negative today, as fans everywhere studied Felix Hernandez and his spectral velocity. A wave of pure terror trickled down my entire body as Felix once again sat around 90-91 on the radar gun, failing to top 93. Before today, it hasn’t been a large reason for concern; due to positive results and the fact that he was only pitching in Spring Training games. Today, neither of those caveats were present. He didn’t pitch terrible, considering he still managed 7 Ks against 1 walk. Felix has insisted that his lack of velocity was due to it being spring training and assured the media not to worry. Wedge insisted that when he needed it, it would be there. Well, when he needed today, it wasn’t there. Obviously I don’t know what’s going on, nor do I know if I should be worried. But I am. It’s almost impossible not to worry at this point. Our most prized possession is displaying possible signs of injury. Injury is bad. We don’t like bad things to happen to prized possessions. We want them to stay pristine…perfect. It might be time to take a look at that golden right arm. If something is wrong with Felix, now would be the time to catch it. I don’t think I can deal with watching Felix escorted off the field, clutching his shoulder.
I don’t think I need to go into detail on how drastically different this team is without Felix. Simply put, they cannot afford to lose him for any extended period of time. If he is hurt, fine, there isn’t a whole lot we can do about it except be proactive in helping him heal; getting him back on the mound as soon as possible. Get him checked out, if Michael Pineda has taught us anything it is that competitors will push these things until…
A.) The team steps in or
B.) They’ve caused severe damage to themselves
In the event that nothing is wrong with him… well then we have a whole new can of worms to open. With an asset such as Felix, taking the just in case route can only help.
On a positive note, the offense has looked pretty good these past two days, despite groggy performances by Smoak and Montero. The team is still going to prone to long stretches of dry spells, if they cannot learn how to take a walk every now-and-again (6 walks total thus far). But the potential of this offense when working on all cogs is invigorating.
First look at Noesi tomorrow. Pay close attention to the late movement on his fastball and how he utilizes his curveball versus his changeup. Hopefully we will get some news on this velocity issue, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.