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August 15, 2012 at 7:14 PM

Felix and Jaso reflect on perfect game

(Photo by Associated Press)
Quite a day here at Safeco Field as years of frustration and near-misses finally went out the window.
No, I’m not talking about Felix Hernandez throwing the first perfect game in Mariners’ history. I’m talking about me covering my first no-hitter in 27 years as a baseball writer.
Seriously, it was great to witness baseball history, and yes, my heart was racing in the ninth inning. My son had just asked me earlier this week if I thought Hernandez was going to ever throw a no-hitter, and I told him I did. But I predicted next year. He told me he thought he was going to do it this year. As usual, Jordan was right, and I was wrong (just ask him).
As you can imagine, I’m swamped writing multiple stories for the paper. Here is a transcript of the post-game interview session in which Hernandez and catcher John Jaso were on the podium. There was a lot of good interplay between the two.
Did you feel pretty good: (Hernandez) Really? Yeah, I feel pretty good. Everything was working today. Thanks to this guy, too (pointing to Jaso). He caught an unbelievable game. Once again.
(Jaso) All I had to do was catch it. I don’t know.
On going 2-0 to the last batter, Sean Rodriguez: (Hernandez)I went 2-0, and I just took a breath. He called a slider. I’ve been following him the whole game, so I threw a slider, and he swung. Good thing I followed this guy.
(Jaso) I’ve been on the Rays before, I know their approach against Felix. It’s to hit that fastball, and hit it early. You don’t want to go to the secondary stuff, because that’s what gets you out. I knew with a 2-0 count, he’s hacking. He’s thinking that fastball is coming. Felix, he had great command of all his pitches all day long. I didn’t second guess it at all. I just knew right away. Slider. This is the pitch to go with. No other one.

On throwing a perfect game: It’s always on my mind. Every game, I think, I need to throw a perfect game. Every pitcher. But today it happened, and it’s something special. I don’t have any words to explain this. This is pretty amazing. It doesn’t happen every day.
When I was warming up in the bullpen, I thought I had pretty good stuff. In the third, I thought, something is going on right now. We throw about five breaking balls in a row, and they couldn’t hit them. It’s this guy (pointing again to Jaso).
On whether it was hard to concentrate during Joe Maddon’s long argument in the seventh: (Hernandez) Not hard at all. I was focused on my game. I don’t pay attention to anything else.
On the fans: (Hernandez) Awesome. I think they deserve it. And I deserve it, too. It’s unbelievable. I’m a little upset because my wife took a flight back to Venezuela last week. She’s not here, the kids are not here. I’m alone, man.
On what he can do for an encore: (Hernandez) What’s comning next? Playoffs. That’s what coming next.
On what went through his mind at the moment he got the last out: (Hernandez) I didn’t know whether to start running so this guy could catch me, or start jumping around, jump against Jaso. I didn’t even know what was going on.
On getting stronger: (Hernandez) I felt more command as the game went on. Breaking balls, curveballs, changeups, fastballs, everything was good today.
On whether it was inevitable Hernandez would thrown a perfecto one day: (Jaso) I thvink so. It almost seems like a matter of time until it happens. The game is weird – a little dribbler here, and it’s ruined. But his competitive attitude and competive mind he brings to the mound every time he pitches, you know you have a guy that’s going to give you a chance to win. I think that was the biggest thing, go out for the win. All the other stuff – keep making your pitches, and the odds are going to go in your ffavor, eventually. This guy deserved the odds to fall in his favor today, for sure.
On the Pena dribbler in the fifth (Jaso): I think like the hastiness of trying to make the play took over so no nerves came into play. I just tried to field the ball before it dribbled foul. Our defense behind Felix was unbelievable. The play Ryan made on B.J. (Upton) on the chopper when it got by Seager was huge, because B.J. flies down line. And the play Thames made to lead off the games.
On how his stuff compared to the two-hitter against the Yankees (Jaso) Stuff wise, I think today, all of Felix’s pitches were working. The Yankees was pretty good, but (addressing Felix) your changeup was going good against righties and lefties today, and everything was working. He didn’t use his curve much against Yankees, but today it was just nasty. Everything was working. You throw any lineup out there, and you’re getting close to same result today.”
(Hernandez) Thanks, man.
On the final pitch: (Hernandez) My mind was just throw it over the plate. He’s going to swing. He took it, and it was a strike. It’s crazy.
How often do you warm up and have all your pitches (Hernandez): A lot of times. But today was special. We could throw any pitch in any count. Today was unbelievable.
On the reaction in the dugout: (Hernandez) They wouldn’t even talk to me. Even Guti., He always talks to me when I’m pitching. No one was even close to me.
(Jaso) His family leaves, and his teammates won’t even talk to him.



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