For a while it seemed like every Seattle Mariners win had an unlikely hero. Cole Gillespie, Endy Chavez, Chris Young, Willie Bloomquist… these are the guys who have seemingly stepped out of nowhere to lead the M’s to inexplicable victories early this season. The Mariners just took two out of three from the Cleveland Indians. This game’s heros? Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano. That’s more what we’d expect.
Fresh off of being embarrassed by Josh Tomlin last night, the M’s got to be on the right side of a one-hitter. Felix is gonna start the All-Star game barring some kind of spectacular and immediate collapse, the likes of which we’ve never seen. Felix is more likely just gonna keep churning out gems, and tonight’s one-hit performance was just another in a long line of dominant starts from the King.
Eight innings, nine strikeouts, three walks, one hit, no runs. The thing that looks weird there is the walks, which is just hilarious. Felix walks a normal-for-someone-else amount of batters, and it’s what catches your eye in a dazzling box score. Only one hit? Not particularly unexpected. More strikeouts than innings? Every fifth day. This season that Felix is in the middle of has just been another level of insanity.
He’s pacing all pitchers in WAR and still trails only Mike Trout amongst all MLBers. If his season ended today, he’d still be worth more than all but ten starting pitchers were over the course of the entire 2013 season. This isn’t just dominance – this is video game-level insanity. Felix is having a career year, sure. But he’s also having what could eventually be one of the best pitcher seasons of all time.
Robinson Cano broke out of his nasty recent slump, smacking a game-deciding two run homer in the sixth only one pitch after being breezed back. T.J. House breezed a changeup under Cano’s nostrils, then got it together and put the same pitch over the heart of the plate. Big mistake – less than two seconds later the ball was in the seats. It was the kind of line drive homer you dream about. It was a Giancarlo Stanton-style liner, the kind where the ball is muscled way out of the stadium in some kind of a hurry. Cano’s one hell of a hitter. His homers are gonna start coming, and they’re gonna be impressive.
Tomorrow’s one of those days where you’re really sorry, but you can’t work late, not this time. Tomorrow you’ll cancel the plans you made yesterday and invest in some glue so as to assure that you can not be detached from your baseball-viewing throne. Tomorrow is Taijuan Walker Day, the first such event of 2014 and a joyous occasion for all fans of the game. Stefen Romero‘s officially off to AAA and Walker’s back with the big club. He’s facing the Houston Astros – who else would it be? – and maybe-somehow ace pitcher Collin McHugh. 5:10 start. Taijuan Walker. Woah.