This was six outs away from being one of the biggest nights in the history of the Mariners franchise. Aside from the playoff years, in a season as bad as this one has gone, seeing the Class AAA Tacoma Rainiers clinch the Pacific Coast League title and then watching a no-hit bid by Felix Hernandez was a rare local treat.
Hernandez was six outs away before Nelson Cruz hit a mammoth, no-doubt home run to center field. Cruz just kills Seattle. He’s now scored at least once in all seven games he’d played against the M’s this season. But he’s been hitting homers off them well before this year.
But Hernandez was full value for the win. Especially once the Rangers put two on with one out in the eighth. They later got the go-ahead run to second. Hernandez got through it.
Cy Young scoreboard?
Hernandez leads the league in ERA at 2.35. He leads the league in strikeouts with 222 — five more than his prior career high. He also leads in innings pitched at 233 2/3.
Oh yeah, he’s now won twice this year when his offense scores two runs or fewer. C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees? He’s won just once in those situations.
Hernandez has a 3-1 lead in wins over Sabathia when his offense scores three runs or fewer.
You can’t win if your team doesn’t score. But Hernandez still wins those games more than Sabathia.
Somebody asked him after tonight whether he felt he was any closer to his first no-hitter.
“It’s coming,” he said. “Don’t worry.”
Hard to argue. How foolish did Hernandez make opposing hitters look? Very.
He struck out Elvis Andrus on a 93 mph changeup in the sixth. Yeah, I know. Who throws a changeup that hard? Is it even effective as a change-up. M’s catcher Adam Moore said it was and that the pitch had a foot of movement on it. But it didn’t break like a typical two-seam fastball. It just moved side to side in weird fashion.
Both were laughing about it in the dugout afterwards.
They weren’t laughing about Julio Borbon trying to bunt for a single in the sixth. Borbon was justly booed by the crowd. I’ve got to hand it to tonight’s crowd. They were into this game. They got all over Borbon the minute he broke one of baseball’s unwritten rules.
Hernandez said Borbon was being “disrespectful”.
We’ll see if anything comes of it tomorrow. Not sure what could. The way the M’s barely score, they can’t really afford to be putting opposing runners on by plunking them. Methinks this becomes a one-night deal.
Mariners manager Daren Brown told us he was so impressed by Hernandez’s pitch count of 73 through seven innings that he had to double-check it with pitching coach Carl Willits to make sure the scoreboard counter was accurate.
That’s when you know your picher is having a good night.
That and a no-hitter through seven. Throw in a PCL championship and one of the better night’s we’ve seen this franchise have all season.