Felix Hernandez and Fernando Rodney combined to post a 3-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics Friday night (July 11). The Seattle Mariners picked up an important victory in the game, showing the A's that the American League West hasn't been decided just yet. On the night, Hernandez went eight innings, allowing just two runs on six hits. He also had nine strikeouts before stepping aside for Rodney. Rodney finished off the ninth inning to pick up yet another save and it improved the team to 50-43 on the season.
The Mariners did just enough on offense to win the game, with Robinson Cano going 2-for-3 at the plate to lead the way. Cano, Endy Chavez, and Logan Morrison each drove in a run on the way to victory. All three players will stay in the lineup for Saturday night (July 12) and Game 2 in the series against Oakland.
Hisashi Iwakuma will take the mound and try to give the mariners an important series victory as the 2014 All-Star break draws closer. Chris Young will then pitch the third game on Sunday (July 13) to try to close it out. In the updated MLB standings, the Mariners hold a two game lead when it comes to the second wild card spot. They are just ahead of the 49-46 Toronto Blue Jays and have created a better cushion over the 47-45 Kansas City Royals.
The team still trails the Los Angeles Angels by 5 1/2 games for the top wild card and the Athletics by eight games for first place in the division. As the season rolls on, it is starting to look like a real possibility that three teams could make the postseason out of the West alone. There are plenty of games between the Athletics, Mariners, and Angels that will certainly decide the final order of the West standings.
The argument for why Fernando Rodney should be on the All-Star team got even stronger with his game on Friday. He has now converted 27-of-29 saves to lead the league in that category. Rodney also has a 1.98 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 42 strikeouts over his 36 1/3 innings of work.
There might not be a bigger snub than Rodney in the league right now, but it hasn't slowed him down on the mound. He could be counted on to help finish off the Athletics in the final two games of the series as well. As for picking him up as a free agent in the last offseason, that move has paid off big time for general manager Jack Zduriencik.