Felix Hernandez has had rough luck, both lately and always. Always brilliant, The King is oft on the mound during games in which his teammates can not or will not score runs, no matter what. Scoring runs is not something the Seattle Mariners have been very good at in Felix’s time with the team, but for whatever reasons these struggles seem to be exaggerated when the team’s best pitcher is on the mound. With the M’s needing a win to snap a losing streak, Felix took the mound. The Mariners won, in no small part due to Felix’s brilliance, but also because the offense showed up. Days where the offense gets going behind Felix are the best days.
The King’s final line: eight innings, five strikeouts, one walk, seven hits, two earned runs. The runs came in the third on a Trevor Plouffe single with men on second and third. After that Felix didn’t so much as let a baserunner make it past second, working around a bunch of base hits to keep the Twins off the board. In a way, this was just your typical Felix start, where he’s dominant and efficient while giving the team a great chance to win. But it’s so, so not a typical Felix start, because the team took that chance to win and ran with it. It’s silly to fawn over run support, but it’s also silly how rare it is (or seems) on Felix Days.
Powering the offense were Michael Saunders and Robinson Cano, both of whom put together excellent days at the plate. Cano had a double and three singles, while Saunders had a double and a triple. James Jones got a hit, as he does every single day. Kyle Seager singled in the first run in the fourth. The next two came on extra baggers from Saunders and Cano an inning later. Saunders hit a sacrifice inning-ending double play that scored a run closing out the top of the sixth. Justin Smoak added a run on a double in the seventh, and Cano scored on a wild pitch in the ninth. The M’s never stopped chipping away, ending with a comfortable victory. Just the way it ought to be.
You know who didn’t get a hit in this game? Brad Miller. He drew a walk but also struck out, and at this point it seems like anything short of a monster series in Arlington will earn him a demotion. This is below Brendan Ryan at his worst levels of offense, and given all that we know (or thought we knew) about Miller it’s just becoming too sad to watch. He’ll be a Mariner for another couple days, it seems, and then he’ll mercifully be a Rainier. And as much as I hate to do this to you, Miller has a higher ISO than Robinson Cano. Sorry. I’m so sorry.
Tomorrow’s game is Hisashi Iwakuma and Colby Lewis at 5:05 in Arlington. Iwakuma’s off to a phenomenal start and should be fun to watch, as always. Lewis isn’t having the best start to his season, but he’s also not the best so this is to be expected. Brad Miller will probably play short and bat ninth. Corey Hart is undergoing or already underwent an MRI and we’ll see if he cracks the lineup. If he doesn’t, does Cole Gillespie DH? Wild and crazy sport, this baseball!