This was a typical Felix start, and for that I am glad. I am glad he is on our side, and not against us. Tonight, he wasn’t his most dominant, but he showed what a staff ace is supposed to do. His line: 8.0IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7 K, 2 BB. He didn’t miss many bats – out of the 42 swings the Angels took against him, only six of them were swinging strikes. That’s a 14% swinging strike rate. Low for Felix standards. However, five of his seven strikeouts ended with the batter swinging and missing. If I do my math correctly, only one swinging strike occurred and didn’t result in a strikeout, and that was in the sixth inning against Vernon Wells. In that at-bat, Felix climbed the ladder and got him to chase. Felix Hernandez brought his good stuff today. This tells me two things.
- Felix got ahead of the batters and had great location. The Angels aren’t as patient as the Athletics when it comes to SwStr%, 6.7 against 8.7, but they still don’t swing away like the Diamondbacks, whose team SwStr% is 10.1. With his pitch selection, he had the batters set up to fail. Those numbers aren’t a coincidence. The reason that the Angels were swinging and missing late in the at-bat was because of said pitch selection, and Felix executed flawlessly. And he got a victory go to along with that.
- Felix pitched with efficiency. Out of his 111 pitches throw, 72 of them went for strikes, a 64.8% strike rate. Not only did Felix pitch have great location tonight, he pitched to contact as well. He had the nasty stuff tonight, so when the Angels made contact, it was feeble contact.
Felix Hernandez is always so much fun to watch. He has enthusiasm, energy, and a passion for the game that everyone loves to see. Did I mention he has mores wins now than his Cy Young winning year? Ha!, wins.
Today marked the return of Michael Saunders. I’m not a fan of Saunders, nor am not not a fan of Saunders. He just sort of, is. I’m content with him just being. He’s not a Jack Zduriencik guy. He’s a Bill Bavasi guy. If he turns into something, great. If he doesn’t, great. In the end, I don’t think he’ll ever be more than a fourth outfielder. I think he’s a great guy, but he’s just not a great baseball player. Speaking of which, he struck out in his first at-bat in four pitches. Of the three pitches that were strikes, he swung at all of them. However, progress!, I say. In his next at-bat, he was able to work a six pitch at-bat, and hit the ball to the right side of the infield to score Kyle Seager. He got the job done, so, hurray! the little things.
Brendan Ryan is still in the two-hole, and went 1-for-5 and flied out with the bases loaded in the second inning. I really like Brendan Ryan. More than Saunders? Maybe. I wouldn’t say it aloud. I’m not heartless! You can tell that Ryan, however, does have heart. He has a love for the game that he wears on his sleeve. I’m not sure how much being a “clubhouse guy” affects the morale of a team, but if it ever did, I would think that he has a positive effect on it.
Ichiro got a hit. Anyone else still keeping track?
Justin Smoak drilled a ball to the right field wall that Torii Hunter fielded well and got back into the infield, stopping Smoak at first base. It’s looking like Smoak is turning it around. I’ve noticed his lack of power up until now, but he’s taken a few good hacks, and the extra-base hits will come eventually. I hope he turns it out, because, why wouldn’t I want him to turn it around? It’s not like he’s Saunders or anything.
- In the bottom of the sixth, the Angels scored their only run, which was unearned, because of a Felix throwing error. Felix attempted to field a ball hit weakly towards him, he picked it up, spun around and just undershot the throw. He looked up at his teammates and chuckled, as if to say I can’t be perfect at everything! During that same play, Miguel Olivo extended his hand out to help Felix up, but was denied. One single tear was shed.
- Later in that inning, Alberto Callaspo scored Hunted on a sharp ground ball up the box. Felix’s instincts took over, and he tried to bare hand the ball as it just barely missed his shin. Other bloggers have pointed this out, but it seems that Felix has had an uncanny amount of close calls in this regard. I agree with the bloggers, one day Felix’s head is going to pop right off, and we are all going to be very sad.
- In the top of the seventh, Seager blasted a single up the middle and it took Angels pitcher Garrett Richards‘s glove right off. He looked around for a bit, looked confused, and then picked up his glove. It was amazing.
I think I saw Felix wearing a Star of David. The Mariners just ended their five game losing streak. Today would be the sixth day. There are six points on the star. It’s magic?
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