Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez stepped onto the mound on Thursday with his job on the line. After five innings, the long-time ace of Seattle’s rotation still may lose his spot in the rotation.
The 32-year-old’s outing against the Toronto Blue Jays started off rocky. After a fairly clean first inning, Hernandez loaded the bases in the second inning then surrendered a two-run single to give Toronto the lead.
Fortunately for Seattle, he escaped the inning without further damage and it would be his only two runs allowed.
Hernandez allowed seven base runners to reach across five innings of work, but he failed to make it to the sixth inning after throwing 92 pitches. While it was an improvement over his performance in July, when he recorded a 9.24 ERA in three starts, manager Scott Servais wouldn’t commit to Hernandez beyond this start.
“We’ll see,” Servais said, via The Seattle Times. “We have to keep evaluating where we are at as a team and how he’s feeling and go from there.”
If Hernandez remains in the rotation, he’d likely face the Texas Rangers on the road next week. Given his 7.58 ERA and .298 batting average allowed in 10 road starts, Servais could seriously consider removing Hernandez from the rotation.
It would mark the end of an era for one of the greatest pitchers to ever suit up for the Mariners. A six-time All-Star and 2010 Cy Young Award winner, Hernandez’s reputation is the only thing saving him right now. Unfortunately, Seattle can no longer afford underwhelming starts given the tight playoff race for a wildcard spot and an increasingly intriguing AL West race.