The Seattle Mariners played well in their recent trip to the Midwest, but they came away with a 3-4 record. They played the A.L. Central division leading White Sox close but came up on the short end of the stick in all three games losing all three games by one run. Seattle then went into Target Field and kept playing strong taking three of four from the Twins. However, since the trip did end at 3-4, the Mariners now find themselves at 64-68, four games under .500. Still, with the wins against Minnesota, the good news remains that going into September that .500 is in sight.
Felix Hernandez – Cy Young? Besides covering the Mariners, I also cover the Cy Young candidates in each league for isportsweb. In my last poll, I had him fifth. Well, since then Hernandez has thrown a perfect game and then threw in another 1-0 victory this week. In a nutshell, Jered Weaver and Justin Verlander now have company for the Cy Young award. Besides leading the A.L. now in both IP and ERA, Felix Hernandez has 4 1-0 victories. That stat alone puts him up with any pitcher in the running for the Cy Young showing his dominance this season. There has been four games with the Mariner offense has given him the slimmest of margins, and he has went out and won the game. Besides his 1-0 victory against the Twins this week to snap a three game slide, his perfect game was a 1-0 victory. Not only was he fighting to finish a perfect game, one mistake could’ve meant a blown ball game. With his current run (4-0 in August with 3 1-0 victories), Hernandez could be eyeing a second Cy Young award.
Shutting the door – Tom Wilhelmsen. Another reason the Mariners have put themselves into position to finish the season .500 or better is the emergence of Tom Wilhelmsen. Wilhelmsen didn’t even start the season as the team’s closer; that role went to Brandon League. But, when League struggled and was eventually traded, the job of closer was given to Wilhelmsen. And, despite not starting the season as closer, he now finds himself tenth in the A.L. in saves at 21. Throwing out a crazy game Friday night that ended up going to the White Sox 9-8, Wilhelmsen has shut the door in his last 8 appearances. He has six saves over that stretch and one win, including saving two of the three wins vs. the Twins this week. On the season, he has 21 saves against 3 blown saves and an ERA of 2.60.
On the Horizon. The Mariners will be making another push to .500 with their next nine games at home. Good news for Seattle: they are 15-1 in their last sixteen games in Safeco Field. The level of competition will rise as they host the Angels, the Red Sox, and the red hot A’s. The Mariners took two of three from the Angels in their last meeting in Anaheim including a win over Jered Weaver. Weaver will get another crack at Seattle, pitching the Sunday finale. On the season, the Angels lead the season series 6-4.