Friday, June 29, 2012
Tell Me Again Why Felix Hernandez Is Still Wasting Away With The Mariners
One of the best pitchers in MLB is reduced to playing for a perennially mediocre team in a division (AL West) that they'll never win anytime soon since the Texas Rangers are loaded and the Los Angeles Angels aren't that far behind. Oh and the stadium was less than half full tonight as Hernandez showed just what the big market teams are missing by throwing a five-hitter as the Mariners (33-45, 14-21 home) beat the Red Sox (40-36, 19-15 away) 1-0 at Safeco Field.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, pinch-hitter and former Ray John Jaso singled to right. Casper Wells had doubled and ended up scoring the winning run on the play even though he should have been out. Red Sox right fielder Cody Ross had a good throw to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia who had time to brace himself for Wells. There wasn't a big collision yet Salty dropped the ball for some reason. The umpire called Wells out initially but once the ball popped loose, it was over. A truly awful way to lose this game and start a seven-game road trip in Seattle and Oakland.
King Felix (6-5) tied a career-high with 13 strikeouts in his fifth career shutout. He had one walk and threw a career-high 128 pitches (84 strikes including 22 swinging strikes which is silly).
The crazy part is that Boston starter Franklin Morales (7 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts) has been lights out since he entered the rotation and he nearly matched the former American League Cy Young winner.
Andrew Miller had a 1-2-3 eighth on seven pitches but Atchison (2-1) wasn't able to send it to extra innings after Wells got the only extra-base hit of the contest.
The Red Sox squandered their only real chance to score, in the top of the ninth. With one out, David Ortiz singled and Salty walked. Hernandez finally seemed to be tiring and after a good at bat, Adrian Gonzalez flew out to center where Michael Saunders made an outstanding running catch. Will Middlebrooks could have put Boston ahead but he popped out to let Felix off the hook.
Aaron Cook (1-1) faces Hector Noesi (2-9) tomorrow night (10:10 p.m., NESN) in a game that the Red Sox really need to win. Tonight's game is the only one that they should honestly lose to the Mariners, who are one of the worst hitting teams in the AL.
Boston missed a great opportunity to move up on everybody else in the AL East last night as the Yankees, Orioles, Rays and Blue Jays all lost. What's more, if you look at the other teams at the moment, they are all messes. The Yankees rotation is in shambles, the Rays and Orioles have lost seven of nine and the Blue Jays are 4-6 in their last 10 with few healthy starting pitchers left standing as well. This all means that the Red Sox need to take advantage; they're playing better and they have a favorable schedule while all their main rivals are scuffling to varying degrees.