The Seattle Mariners (68-73) shut out the Texas Rangers (73-66) for the second consecutive game on Thursday afternoon at Safeco Field. Texas took the first two games of the four game set, but Seattle fought back to earn a series split. Felix Hernandez (17-8, 3.49 ERA) spun a gem today, and tallied his 17th win of the season. Derek Holland (3-2, 3.13 ERA) was credited with the loss for the visitors.
Much like they did on Wednesday night, the Mariners jumped out to an early lead in the 1st inning. The M’s plated a pair of runs in the opening frame this afternoon. The score remained unchanged until Seattle tacked on 3 insurance runs in the home half of the 7th to make it a 5-0 game.
King Felix ruled today, blanking the Rangers over 8 innings while allowing just 3 hits. Hernandez fanned 8 and walked 4. His command was not perfect, but he did more than enough to earn the win. After today’s victory, Felix is only two wins shy of matching his career high of 19 wins in a season. Not only do I expect him to reach 19, but I predict he will break the 20 win threshold for the first time in his illustrious career.
Today’s game was not a save situation, but Tom Wilhelmsen shut the door on the Rangers in the 9th inning. The Bartender has been the Mariners most effective reliever over the last couple weeks. Since being inserted as the M’s closer, Wilhelmsen has compiled 8 saves and has yet to give up a single run.
Sep 10, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) hugs pitcher Felix Hernandez (34) after hitting a two-run homer against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning at Safeco Field. Seattle defeated Texas, 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Cruz made an instant impact this afternoon in his return to the M’s lineup. After missing a week due to quad issue, Cruz finished 2 for 4 with a home run, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. He has now hit 40 home runs on the season. That number matches a career high for Nelly, and he is the first Mariner since Alex Rodriguez in 2000 to club 40 long balls. The 35-year-old slugger has been better than advertised this season, and that is rare statement to make about a Mariners’ free agent signing.
Mark Trumbo has had a nice game for Seattle, going 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI. Trumbo has now hit safely in 12 consecutive games, and he has contributed at least 1 hit in 21 of his last 22 games. Ketel Marte was responsible for plating the other Mariners’ run today. Jesus Sucre did a nice job at the plate and behind it, finishing 1 for 2 with a double and a walk.
Derek Holland was off his game today, and it cost his team. The 28-year-old southpaw is typically very effective against Seattle, but he was touched up for 5 runs on 9 hits across 7 innings. Holland struck out 5 and walked 2 en route to taking the loss. Anthony Bass hurled a perfect 8th inning for the Rangers.
There is not much to say about the Rangers’ bats today. Collectively, Texas had 4 hits and 8 total baserunners. Mitch Moreland was the standout, going 2 for 4 with a double. Shin-Soo Choo and Bobby Wilson contributed the other Ranger hits.
The Mariners are winners of 7 of their last 9 games, and shockingly, sit just 5 games under .500. Seattle is currently 8.5 games back of the American League West leading Houston Astros, and 6.5 games out in the wildcard race. I still do not believe the M’s have a realistic chance to make the playoffs in 2015, but at least they are playing some decent ball right now.
The Seattle Mariners (68-73) will welcome the Colorado Rockies (58-82) to Safeco Field on Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 pm from the corner of Edgar & Dave. Hisashi Iwakuma (7-3, 4.03 ERA) will get the ball for the M’s in the opener, and Chad Bettis (6-5, 4.95 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Rockies. Root Sports Northwest will carry the game live locally, and MLB.tv subscribers can watch worldwide on connected devices.