Seattle Mariners’ manager Don Wakamatsu made a very odd decision at the end of the Mariners’ game on Sunday against the San Diego Padres. With two outs in the ninth, and with the Mariners leading 4-2, Wakamatsu removed starting pitcher Felix Hernandez to bring in David Aardsma to record a one-out save.


Despite the move working out, I didn’t understand the move then, and I don’t understand it now.

King Felix entered the ninth inning with 109 pitches under his belt. The Padres hadn’t really hit Hernandez all day and he retired six consecutive batters.

I applaud Wakamatsu for leaving Hernandez in the game to start the ninth, but don’t you have to figure that Hernandez is going to throw between 15-20 pitches to complete the game? Why take him out after 128 pitches?

What is the difference between 128 pitches or 132 or 135 pitches? The answer is none.

Chase Headley grounded weakly to first, Adrian Gonzalez blooped a single to center, and Scott Hairston grounded weakly into a fielder’s choice (I thought he was out at first by the way). There was no reason to take Hernandez out of the game with two outs and a runner on first base.

The next batter was Nick Hundley, who had been 0-for-3 with a K against Hernandez on that day. I would trust Hernandez after 128 pitches before I would trust a fresh Aardsma.

The “feel” of the game called for Hernandez to finish it off.

As I mentioned above, the move worked and the Mariners won the game. But I would have left Hernandez in the game to finish what he started.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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