Observations from a loss, 5/14


The Mariners lost a game they probably should have won Tuesday, falling to the Yankees 4-3 in the Bronx. Former Mariner Shawn Kelley got his second win of 2013 while Charlie Furbush earned his second loss. Mariano Rivera, the man, the myth, the legend, notched save No. 16 in the same number of chances. Here’s what I observed in Tuesday’s loss.

Umpire Jerry Layne bungled a few critical calls Tuesday

Questionable umpiring mars result

The worst bit of ump-work didn’t even cost the Mariners a run. That took place when Felix Hernandez and Kendrys Morales both decided to cover first on a really weird play made on a ground ball to Robert Andino hit by Lyle Overbay. Andino’s throw arrived in plenty of time, but Felix didn’t get out of Overbay’s way. The umpires huddled and incorrectly ruled Felix interfered with Overbay, allowing him to reach base. Here’s the rule on interference from the MLB rule book, per @KJRMitch on Twitter:

“OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball impedes the progress of any runner”

So maybe Felix technically did that, but Overbay was already called out, so it shouldn’t have mattered. Throw in Charlie Furbush getting squeezed at least twice in the costly seventh inning and Mike Morse striking out for the final out on a pitch Rivera threw at least a foot inside, and the umpiring in this game was atrocious.

Ibanez born to play in new Yankee Stadium

As a rule, Eric Wedge avoids playing Raul Ibanez against lefties. Raul only had 11 ABs against southpaws in 2o13, with just one single to show for it. But Wedge rolled the dice on Ibanez Tuesday, knowing his prowess in dealing with the right field short porch in New York. And boy, was he right. Raul hit a sharp line drive to right off of Sabathia in the sixth inning that probably would have left one out of thirty parks in the majors. Fortunately, that one park happened to be the one the Mariners were playing in at the time. Ibanez can provide a big lift with his spurts of power, and as long as he does that every once in a while, he’ll stick around for all of 2013.

Felix’s leg “issues” cost Mariners

Felix was in top form tonight. Any time runners would threaten in scoring position, he pitched out of it with his dominant changeup. But he suffered two leg injury scares, once in the fourth and again in the sixth. The second not only threw off his rhythm and cost him a mistake pitch to Overbay resulting in an RBI double, but convinced Eric Wedge that he had to pull Felix after the inning. Then Wedge pulled a perfectly fine Yoervis Medina for “lefty-specialist” Charlie Furbush, who didn’t get any lefties out unscathed. You have to think Felix’s massive contract was weighing on Wedge’s mind at that point. The move cost the Mariners the game, as Felix could have pitched the seventh inning.

The Mariners fell to 18-21 and throw Hisashi Iwakuma against Phil Hughes tomorrow at 4:05 PT