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Hernandez, Seager thrive in Bronx

6/2/2014

The Seattle Mariners have a couple of players who really like Yankee Stadium and we’re not talking about ex-Yankee Robinson Cano.

Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez

#34 SP
Seattle Mariners

2014 STATS

  • GM13
  • W8

  • L1

  • BB16

  • K91

  • ERA2.57

Atop that list is Felix Hernandez, who beat the Yankeess again, allowing two runs in seven innings.

That actually raised Hernandez’s ERA at the new Yankee Stadium to 1.37, still easily the best by anyone who has made at least three starts there.

Hernandez has now allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last five starts against the Yankees. Over the last six seasons, Hernandez has had a streak of five straight such starts against them and another streak of four straight such starts against them.

The Elias Sports Bureau notes that in the Divisional Era (since 1969), the only other pitchers to have two such streaks of at least four starts are Frank Tanana, Nolan Ryan, Rudy May and Mark Gubicza.

Hernandez has now won five straight decisions overal,l and the last four of those starts have been particularly good. He’s gone at least seven innings in each and allowed two runs or fewer, with 31 strikeouts and four walks. He’s gotten 35 outs in those starts with his signature changeup, a pitch that has induced misses on 44 percent of swings against it this season.

On Monday, he threw 33 changeups. The Yankees swung at 20 and missed on 10 of them. They had one hit and nine outs against the pitch, including six strikeouts.

Seager stars with the bat

Kyle Seager became the first player in Mariners history with a home run and two triples in a game. He’s the first player to do that, with a double as well, for any team since Hal Breeden of the 1973 Expos did so against the Phillies.

Perhaps a day like this shouldn’t have been unexpected for him.

Kyle Seager

Kyle Seager

#15 3B
Seattle Mariners

2014 STATS

  • GM54
  • HR9

  • RBI36

  • R24

  • OBP.355

  • AVG.272

Inside Edge tracks a stat for major-league teams and media outlets known as “hard-hit average.” The company rates every batted ball as either hard, medium or soft. Hard-hit average is the rate at which a player’s at-bats end with him being credited with a hard-hit ball.

Seager entered the day ranked fifth in the majors in hard-hit average this season, with a hard-hit ball in 24 percent of his at-bats.

The four players ranked ahead of him are four of the game’s elite hitters- David Ortiz, Troy Tulowitzki, Victor Martinez and Nelson Cruz. Among those Seager rated ahead of entering the day were Miguel Cabrera and Yasiel Puig.

What’s held Seager down is how he’s fared not when he hits the ball hard, but when he hits the ball softly. He entered the day 5 for 67 when hitting a soft-hit ball.

That may be due to come up at least a little bit. Seager had gotten hits on 13 percent of his soft-hit balls from 2011 to 2013.