Felix Hernandez makes his 34th and possibly final start of the season tonight, and if it is his last game he won’t be the only one sitting out the final five games.
Closer David Aardsma, first baseman-designated hitter Russell Branyan, Mike Carp and Sean White have all played for the last time in 2010 because of injuries, and four more players – Milton Bradley, Erik Bedard, Shawn Kelley and Jack Wilson – will end their season on the disabled list.
Carp, injured Sunday in Tampa Bay, was diagnosed with a partially torn plantar fascia today. Recovery time: three weeks.
Felix, meanwhile, has already thrown a carer-high 241 innings this season, and the Mariners are limiting his pitches and his innings the rest of the way. A win today would put Seattle in position to avoid a 100-loss season by winnng just two of their final five games.
It’s Felix vs. Scott Feldman:
- Ichiro opened the game with his 206th hit, a looping line drive to left field. Chone Figgins bunted him to second base. Jose Lopez parachuted a double into left field, Ichiro stopping at third. Franklin Gutierrez flied out, Ichiro scoring. In the first: Seattle 1, Texas 0.
- After an eight-pitch at-bat, Esteban German walked and was bunted to second base, then took third on a ground ball out. Nelson Cruz struck out.
- With two outs, Hernandez gave up a single and a walk, fell behind in the count, 3-0, and gave up an RBI single to David Murphy. In the third: Seattle 1, Texas 1.
- Lopez walked and Justin Smoak hammered his 12th home run to straightaway center field. In the fourth: Seattle 3, Texas 1.
- With one out, David Murphy doubled and Nelson Cruz was safe when his bad-hop single hit Lopez in the right hand. Lopez left the game, replaced by Matt Tuiasosopo. Lopez dislocated his right middle finger and has had it placed in a splint.
- Felix is out, Brandon League is in for the ninth. Hernandez threw 111 pitches, and his chances of starting another game this year are now slim. He’ll try to talk his way into Sunday’s game. We’ll see. Felix has won 13 games and has an earned run average of 2.27. Amazing season. It’s a final: Seattle 3, Texas 1.