ARLINGTON -- Felix Hernandez has made 27 starts this season and 402 in his 14-year Major League career, but he'd like to make one more this year and will rejoin the rotation Wednesday when the Mariners face the A's in the final homestand of 2018.Hernandez has been sidelined since Sept.
ARLINGTON -- Felix Hernandez has made 27 starts this season and 402 in his 14-year Major League career, but he'd like to make one more this year and will rejoin the rotation Wednesday when the Mariners face the A's in the final homestand of 2018.
Hernandez has been sidelined since Sept. 8 with a strained right hamstring, but he'll gear it up for one last go in the final game of the Oakland series.
"I feel good. No problems. It's 100 percent," Hernandez said Sunday. "I just want to finish strong and show them I can still pitch. It wasn't a big injury. They just wanted to give me some rest."
James Paxton is also slated to rejoin the rotation this week after missing two starts with pneumonia. The big lefty will start Monday's series opener against the A's, which means he should be able to make one additional start next weekend in the season-ending series against the Rangers at Safeco.
Hernandez has struggled much of the year, going 8-13 with a 5.46 ERA, which is more than a full point higher than last season's career-high 4.36. His WHIP of 1.40 and FIP of 5.05 are also career highs and he hasn't won a game since June 30, going 0-7 with a 6.14 ERA in his last 10 outings, including the lone relief appearance of his career after getting moved briefly to the bullpen.
But after all Hernandez has done in his career -- including six All-Star appearance, an American League Cy Young Award and a perfect game -- he's perplexed by how this year unfolded and still wants to work on some changes made to his mechanics in recent weeks before calling it a season.
Mariners manager Scott Servais said there are a couple reasons it's important to give Hernandez another start before shutting down for the year.
"One, he really wants to and that's good," Servais said. "No. 2, it is important to just go into the offseason with peace of mind. You want good results obviously and go out throw the ball well and give us a chance to win the ballgame. But also so he feels good about where he's at physically. Then you can gear up and figure out what your offseason program is going to be and how you're going to get ready for next year."
The math no longer adds up
About an hour after the Mariners left their clubhouse following Saturday's win, they were mathematically eliminated from Wild Card contention when the A's pulled out another walk-off win over the Twins.
"You have to give Oakland a ton of credit," Servais said. "They put together quite a run and did not back off. They never stepped back. They continued to pitch very, very well. How they've won games, when you have a season like that, that's what you do. We thought we were on that track. We got derailed for a couple different reasons and you have to give them a ton of credit."
Haniger gets a rare day of rest
Right fielder Mitch Haniger wasn't in the lineup Sunday for the first time since being sidelined by a bruised knee on July 5-6, having started the last 65 games while posting a .310/.391/.516 line. But Servais knows the 27-year-old has been grinding and he finally gave him a day off in the final road game of the year.
Haniger has played in 151 of the team's games to date and has played even better down the stretch after an All-Star first half.
"He's certainly earned it. He's been as consistent running out there as any player I've seen in a long, long time," Servais said. "Really impressive."
• When Mike Zunino homered in Saturday's 13-0 win, he became the fifth Mariner with 20 home runs, joining Nelson Cruz, Haniger, Ryon Healy and Kyle Seager. It's just the fourth time in club history the Mariners have had five players with 20 homers and first since 1999 with David Bell, Russ Davis, Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez and Alex Rodriguez.
• The 13-0 victory was the seventh in Mariners history where they've scored 13 or more runs in a shutout and first since a 13-0 win on July 2, 2003, at Oakland. Seattle has won three 14-0 shutouts and four 13-0 shutouts.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.