If you live in the Northwest, you probably begin to stumble when temperatures hit the 90s – the kind of heat the folks in Texas don’t notice.
Down here, where they had a month of 100 degree temperatures last summer, 90s is spring weather. Which gives the Texas Rangers a sizeable advantage on the opposition during summer months.
The Mariners won the first two games of their series in Arlington with both starting pitchers – first Jeff Weaver, then Felix Hernandez – exiting after six innings. By the eighth inning Friday, the e-mail was already demanding John McLaren’s head for pulling Hernandez out prematurely.
Rest yourselves. It wasn’t a quick hook.
"The heat was killing me," Hernandez said. "My shirt weighed about three pounds. I wanted to go deeper, but it was so hot out there."
It was so hot that Saturday’s batting practice was canceled by McLaren, who planned to rest center fielder Ichiro Suzuki and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, too.
The heat and humidity take a toll on visiting players, and McLaren isn’t about to exhaust his starting pitchers or position players here before a huge three-game series at home with the Angels beginning Monday.
McLaren doesn’t want his team looking ahead, but as a manager he must. If babying his starting pitchers in weather they rarely work in keeps them fresher, that’s good decision-making
On Thursday, Weaver told the Mariners he was done after six innings. Hernandez wanted to go deeper into the game, but admitted he was fried.
Five weeks before the end of the season is too early to push pitchers beyond their limits. A month from now, McLaren and the team may have to demand more.