Once among the game’s elite pitchers, former Mariners ace Felix Hernandez has reached a point where he’s so ineffective that he may not continue to keep his spot in the team’s rotation. Hernandez allowed 11 runs (seven earned) on eight hits, including three home runs, in six innings in a loss to lowly Texas on Tuesday, and after the game, manager Scott Servais wasn’t willing to guarantee the 32-year-old would make his scheduled start Sunday in Houston. “We’ll see,” Servais said (via ESPN.com). “You have to take a look at where we’re at going forward here. The next time that spot [in the rotation] comes around, we’ll be over in Houston. They’ve also got a good club.” Hernandez, who’s in the penultimate guaranteed season of a seven-year, $175MM contract, has thrown 124 innings (23 starts) in 2018 and logged a career-worst ERA (5.73), FIP (5.03) and xFIP (4.71).
More from Seattle, which is two games out of a wild-card spot and trying to break a 16-year playoff drought…
- While the Mariners don’t seem sure if Hernandez will make his next start, it’s fair to say fellow righty Erasmo Ramirez won’t serve as an immediate replacement. Ramirez, who has missed most of the season with lat and shoulder injuries, isn’t quite ready to return, Servais told Greg Johns of MLB.com and other reporters. According to Servais, Ramirez “wasn’t that sharp” and “was off a little mechanically” in his latest Triple-A rehab outing Sunday, in which he gave up four runs (three earned) in as many innings. With Ramirez still not ready to rejoin the club, it could turn to Robert Whalen, Casey Lawrence or Christian Bergman if it doesn’t want to start Hernandez against the Astros, Johns notes.
- Reliever Sam Tuivailala left his outing Wednesday with a strained right Achilles tendon, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times was among those to tweet. There’s no word on how much time Tuivailala will miss, but it’s fair to expect a lengthy absence in this case. The Mariners just acquired the 25-year-old from the Cardinals on July 27, when they dealt minor league righty Seth Elledge to St. Louis in a one-for-one swap. Since then, Tuivailala has thrown 4 2/3 innings of one-run ball in Seattle, which – combined with his Cardinals numbers – gives him a 3.47 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 32 frames this year. [Update: Tuivailala is in a walking boot and will require a DL stint, Divish tweets.]
- One more Mariners note: The club has laid off 10 scouts – five on the amateur side, five in the professional ranks – Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.