Game 77, Mariners at Yankees
Hernandez vs Vazquez, 4:05 pm.
Happy Felix Day.
No pitcher in the AL has thrown more pitches than Felix Hernandez this year. In his last nine starts, Felix has thrown 1,028 pitches, which would equal out to about 3,750 over a full season. Last year, only Justin Verlander threw that many pitches. And, to top it off, the workload is only getting larger, as Felix has averaged 117 pitches per start in June.
Pitch counts aren’t the be all, end all of keeping pitchers healthy. But, they shouldn’t be ignored either. Over the last month or so, as Wak has lost faith in the bullpen, he’s asked Felix and Lee to shoulder a very heaven burden. With the season down the drain, it’s time for the M’s to back off and give their young ace a bit of a rest. The results of the games this year don’t matter anymore, but if Felix blows out his arm, there’s a good chance that the Mariners won’t be playing meaningful baseball next year either.
It’s in everyone’s best interests to keep Felix healthy, and part of that is keeping his pitch counts reasonable. I’m not advocating yanking him every time he gets to the 100 pitch mark, but it would still be wise to stop sending him out in the 8th or 9th inning when he’s already in triple digits. Let’s save some bullets for next year, eh?
Jack Wilson, SS