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Thursday, April 18, 2013
Thoughts: Mariners hate King Felix

By David Schoenfield

Thoughts on Wednesday's game ... or, actually, on one Wednesday game.

Felix Hernandez has made four starts this year. He's allowed nine runs, struck out 28 batters in 28.2 innings, walked just five and surrendered just two home runs. He's had two classic, dominant Felix starts and two mediocre ones. There have been concerns about his fastball velocity and the diminishing difference between his fastball and Bugs Bunny changeup. Still, he's been very good, still King Felix.

The Mariners have scored nine runs for him in four games. He's 1-2 with a 2.20 ERA. Jeff Sullivan has a great piece on the U.S.S. Mariner blog summing up the frustrations of Mariners fans.

Last night's duel with Max Scherzer was a tour de force in pitching. Hernandez struck out 12 in eight innings, walked nobody and allowed only an unearned run. Scherzer struck out 12 in his eight innings and allowed just one run. His final pitch of the night was a 95-mph fastball that he blew past Kyle Seager with the go-ahead on second base. Back in the old days, they would have ignored pitch counts and let these two guys battle until their arms fell off. I'm not sure either would have allowed another run.

The Tigers eventually won 2-1 in 14 innings, the final out coming when the Tigers threw out Justin Smoak at home plate. The Tigers struck out 21 times -- Prince Fielder fanned five times -- and were 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position. They still won.

I fell asleep in the 11th inning; the Mariners' bats have been asleep for five years. They're hitting .220 and ranked 14th in the AL in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. How does Hernandez do it? The one game he's won this year? He didn't give up a run. This was the 29th game in his career he's allowed no runs or one run and didn't get a win.

It's no way to treat a King.