Mariners place pitchers Felix Hernandez, David Phelps on DL

The contending Seattle Mariners were dealt double bad news on Tuesday. Both starting pitcher Felix Hernandez and reliever David Phelps will miss extended time.

It’s been a rough season for Hernandez. This is King Felix’s second DL stint of the season. When he’s pitched, he’s struggled. Hernandez’s ERA (4.28) and WHIP (1.357) are both up from 2016, which was the worst season he had had in quite some time.

Between the Mariners and Miami Marlins, Phelps has a 3.33 ERA and 1.30 WHIP on the season, with a 10.3 K/9 rate. He was acquired by Seattle in July, and in seven outings since has a 2.57 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 14.1 K/9 rate.

The Mariners enter play on Tuesday only one back of the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays, who are tied for the second American League Wild Card spot. But they are only a game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles. In fact, six American League teams are within five games of Seattle in the Wild Card picture.

So, any period of struggle could prove quite costly for the Mariners as they look to end MLB’s longest postseason drought.