Felix Hernandez hasn’t pitched against the Tampa Bay Rays in Seattle in quite some time. Last time he did he threw a perfect game, which, I’m sorry, is still the greatest sporting accomplishment by any athlete in the history of Seattle. While everyone knew he wasn’t going to do it again, the Rays history of being on the wrong end of these things and Felix’s own undeniable Felix-ness made it seem at least possible. What Felix didn’t do was throw a perfect game. What Felix did do was dominate. And get ejected.
From the first inning the King was obviously peeved at Mark Ripperger’s strike zone. He worked around the ump’s shortcomings, refusing to issue a single walk and blowing seven hitters away with strikeouts. He allowed eight hits, four of which came in Tampa Bay’s four-run seventh. Three singles set the stage for Ryan Hanigan‘s bases-clearing double, after which Tom Wilhelmsen came in (and let Felix’s fourth runner score). Having already been pulled, Hernandez started yelling about balls and strikes and got himself tossed. It sounds like Felix had a good time doing it, and was smart enough to wait until his day was done before earning himself an early trip to the clubhouse. Felix is the best at a lot of things, and now we can add “getting ejected” to the list.
Cesar Ramos isn’t exactly the kind of pitcher you expect anything from ever, and against the Mariners he was predictably bad. The M’s got three in the first as James Jones doubled and Stefen Romero singled. These two were expected to spend 2014 at AAA and both are off to fine starts in the bigs. Cool, cool. Robinson Cano and Corey Hart both had home run calls reviewed and overturned in back to back plate appearances, with Cano’s becoming an RBI double and Hart’s becoming an RBI single as he was thrown out at second.
Things only got worse for Ramos in the second, as Mike Zunino led off with a big homer and Romero doubled in a run after consecutive throwing errors put two men on. Cano added an RBI sac fly, Kyle Seager pitched in an RBI single, and Dustin Ackley reached on another error, which scored a run. Another run scored in the third, still against Ramos. The Rays hurler settled down and got a string of outs following this, but the damage was done. Romero and Justin Smoak each homered in the eighth. This game was a lot of fun.