The Seattle Mariners are uncertain whether Felix Hernandez will make his next turn in the rotation after the struggling former ace suffered one of the worst losses of his career Tuesday against the Texas Rangers.
Hernandez admitted to being “frustrated” after allowing 11 runs — seven earned — in six innings of Seattle’s 11-4 loss to Texas.
Mariners manager Scott Servais was asked after the game whether Hernandez, who is 0-4 in his last five outings, will make his next scheduled start Sunday against the AL West-leading Houston Astros (73-42), who lead Seattle (65-49) by 7.5 games.
“We’ll see,” Servais said. “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.
“We’ve got to give ourselves a chance every time out there to win the ballgame. It’s tough to win.”
Hernandez briefly looked like the ace he used to be for the Mariners, even playfully pointing former teammate Adrian Beltre back to the dugout after striking out baseball’s active career hits leader. But after getting through the first two innings unscathed, including another entertaining on-field exchange with his friend, the struggles returned for the former AL Cy Young Award winner.
Beltre grounded into a double play to end the third, but only after the Rangers had scored four runs that inning to put them ahead to stay. And when Beltre homered to straightaway center in the sixth, it marked the most runs Hernandez has ever given up in his career.
“Yeah, I’m frustrated. What can I say? What can I say?” said Hernandez (8-10), who pitched more than five innings for the first time since June 25.
Hernandez, 32, has a career-worst 5.73 ERA in 23 starts this season. The six-time All-Star has a 7.85 ERA in his last six starts.
Texas’ Robinson Chirinos led off the third inning with a walk before Willie Calhoun‘s single and a bunt hit by No. 9 batter Carlos Tocci loaded the bases. A groundout pushed home a run before Rougned Odor‘s two-run double and a tiebreaking single by Elvis Andrus.
“I lost my command after the first two innings,” Hernandez said. “Just leaving it in the middle of the plate and making a lot of mistakes.”
“[Hernandez] got off to a decent start. The walks hurt him a little bit tonight again, two or three leadoff walks tonight. Those guys came around to score,” Servais said. “I thought we got off to a good start in the game, just it turned on us.”
Hernandez, whose 168 career wins are the most by a Venezuelan-born pitcher, struck out two and walked four. He was hurt by two errors by third baseman Kyle Seager that led to four unearned runs.
“I was just bad tonight, didn’t catch them,” Seager said.
Profar’s three-run homer made it 8-4 in the fifth right after Seager misplayed Beltre’s two-out grounder.
“Errors happen. They are part of the game. You got to keep grinding through it,” Servais said. “Just wasn’t able to make pitches after that. Left the ball up to Profar, which kind of sealed our fate here tonight.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.