Felix Hernandez turned and threw to second in the sixth inning Tuesday night. What seemed innocuous turned a tight game in Yankee Stadium on its head during the Mariners’ 4-3 loss.
Hernandez did not return for the seventh, and, according to manager Eric Wedge, that “pinch” Hernandez felt in his lower back was the lone reason why.
“I’m hoping that he’s fine, and I think he will be fine,” Wedge said. “When you tweak something like that on a play … what you don’t want to have happen is send him back out there (and) he starts compromising things.
“Then you change your delivery and you have a chance of doing something else that’s even more serious. I wasn’t going to take that chance.”
Hernandez and Wedge said they think the back problem will be fine.
The trouble with it Tuesday night is it brought on what has been a reliable bullpen a touch early. Charlie Furbush gave up the lead when Robinson Cano doubled to tie it. Lyle Overbay’s sacrifice fly put the Yankees ahead.
Like most, the Mariners could did nothing but shatter their bats against Mariano Rivera in an 1-2-3 ninth.
Some quick hits:
> Michael Morse had three hits and had multiple hits in back-to-back games for the first time this season. He said Sunday night he was seeing a lot of off-speed stuff and CC Sabathia started him with a curveball in his first at-bat. Morse ripped it down the left-field line.
> Tough night for Michael Saunders. Sabathia at him up and spat him out, like he does to most lefties. Saunders struck out three times on the night, twice against Sabathia.
> Per usual, there was a lot of consternation about Tuesday’s lineup. Raul Ibanez, Kelly Shoppach and Robert Andino were in it. Ibanez’s presence in particular drew a lot of criticism because he had hit Sabathia well in the past, but it was the distant past. Without a doubt, Sabathia has improved and Ibanez, 40, has slowed down with age. And, Sabathia destroys lefties. But, we’re not talking about playing Ibanez over Miguel Cabrera, rather over Justin Smoak (2-for-9 career against Sabathia with three K’s and .158 this season against lefties) or Jesus Montero (0-for-4 against Sabathia, .172 against lefties this year after .322 last year). Ibanez came in with 42 at-bats against Sabathia and a .524 slugging percentage, with, again, the majority of his success coming earlier in his career. Sabathia has controlled the matchup since 2006. Ibanez went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer Tuesday night and has seven home runs in Yankee Stadium in his last 10 games there, which was part of Wedge’s reasoning for playing Ibanez. The trio was 4-for-8 against Sabathia. For one night, it worked out.
> Furbush blowing the game was just the second blown save of the season for the Mariners. Wedge said he wanted to go Yoervis Medina, Furbush, Carter Capps and Lucas Luetge in order to save Oliver Perez, who Wedge feels can get out lefties or righties. Lefties are hitting .087 against Perez this year. Righties .231. He’s struck out the side in consecutive outings while also allowing a solo homer.
> Also of note: The Mariners left 11 runner on base. They pushed Sabathia, but could never break it open.
> The Mariners have lost 12 of their last 17 against the Yankees. Hisashi Iwakuma is on the mound Wednesday.
> If you see some of the Mariners hierarchy, namely Chuck Armstrong, in the stands, it’s because he and a couple other high-end folks in the organization are in New York for the quarterly owners’ meeting.