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August 16, 2005

The Phenom

Last night I went and saw Felix Hernandex pitch for the Mariners. Hernandez is a 19-year-old rookie. As it happens, I also saw him pitch Tuesday, which was his first home start.

On Tuesday he threw eight shutout innings and the Mariners won 1-0. The entire game lasted 2 hours and 1 minute, the shortest game in Safeco field history.

Last night looked like more of the same. The first 4 1/2 innings took exactly one hour; Hernandez had 9 strikeouts, no walks, and only one hit; the Royals had hit 2 balls out of the infield. Literally I think he was behind on the count to only one batter, who got to 2-1 before striking out two pitches later. He topped out at 98 mph, nice easy overhand motion. He's listed at 6-3, 170 but if he weighs 170 then I weigh about 155. 200 would be more like it. He does the Freddy Garcia "hop over the foul line" walking out, which scares me that he is going to twist his ankle.

In the bottom of the 5th the Mariners scored 3 runs and Hernandez had to sit for 18 minutes. When he came back out for the 6th he was less effective. "Less effective" meaning he actually walked a batter and it was the first inning he didn't get at least one strikeout. In the 7th the Royals got a single and then hit three straight balls in the vicinity of the shortstop, any one of which could have been a double play, but instead they were an infield hit and two force outs at second, so they scratched out a run. By then he had thrown 90 pitches and the Mariners scored 2 more in the bottom of the 7th, another long inning at the plate.

So I was somewhat appalled when Hargrove sent Hernandez out to pitch the 8th. Luckily he got 3 quick outs and no harm was done. Finally in the 9th they brough in Jeff Nelson to give up a couple of runs and preserve the 11-3 victory.

These are his ball/strike totals by inning:

 1  6  9 12 17 25 29 32
10 17 23 32 43 50 61 67

The Mariners are pretty terrible this year, but at least guys like this give you hope for the future.

Posted by AdamBa at August 16, 2005 07:11 PM

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I was at the game too. King Felix is really something else isn't he? If he can consistenly pitch even half as well as he did last night he's going to be a big boost.

Posted by: Jamie at August 16, 2005 09:32 PM