The Closer: June to remember

He was 0-3 with a 4.79 ERA in May, but Felix Hernandez turned it around in June winning four of five starts including Wednesday at the Yankees. Hernandez threw the second complete game against the Bronx Bombers in as many days following Cliff Lee's effort on Tuesday. In this edition of The Closer, we'll show you why Hernandez dominated in the Bronx and why Josh Hamilton also had a June to remember.

Why Felix Hernandez shut out the Yankees:

- Induced a season high-tying 17 swinging strikes for the second time in three starts

- With 18 swings against offspeed pitches, hitters missed 12 (67 percent; MLB avg is 30) and put just two in play (both outs) while striking out a season-high nine times out of Hernandez's 11 total

- Hitters have chased 50 percent of offspeed pitches out of the strike zone over his last four starts (MLB avg: 31)

*Felix Hernandez was nearly unhittable with his offspeed stuff in June:


Offspeed Pitches, In June

Hernandez and Lee conquer the Bronx

Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee had complete game wins on consecutive days at Yankee Stadium. Hernandez and Lee are only the third pair of teammates to toss complete game wins against the Yankees in the Bronx on back-to-back days since 1985. Roger Clemens and Al Nipper did it for the Red Sox in 1987 as did Mark Langston and Jim Abbott for the Angels in 1991.

Josh blooms in June

Josh Hamilton finished the month of June with a .454 batting average and 31 runs batted in. Since 1938, only two other players had that high a batting average and that many RBI in a calendar month, and they both did it in 2000: Colorado’s Todd Helton in August (.476/32) and Houston’s Richard Hidalgo in September (.476/31).

* Three things Josh Hamilton improved on over his monster June: 1) He's hit lefties much better than in previous months 2) He's improved against off-speed pitches - and hit off-speed with power (2 HR off non-fastballs in April/May; 3 HR off non-FB in June) and 3) Hamilton has had no trouble with pitches on the outer third of the plate, which was not the case in April/May: