In today’s game, the Rays sent 27 batters to the plate, and King Felix sent each of them back to the dugout disappointed. Indeed, Felix Hernandez clinched his place in history today by becoming the 23rd man in baseball history to throw a perfect game.
Safeco Field, the city of Seattle, and the world of Twitter all erupted at the news of Felix’ accomplishment. Obviously, Felix had some ridiculous stuff on the mound today, but there were a few other factors that contributed to the win.
The first of thing you can credit the success to was Felix’ ability to control the count. Felix got 16 first pitch strikes. He consistently got ahead in the count and usually stayed ahead. The count also only got to three balls three times. The total pitch count for the game was 117 pitches which came out to an average of 4.33 pitches per batter. That number is ridiculous considering that King Felix also struck out 12 batters. In plate appearances that did not result in strikeouts, Hernandez threw an average of just three pitches per at bat.
Another factor in Felix’ perfect game was his trust in his offspeed pitches. Whether he was ahead or behind in the count,
Felix continually went to his breaking pitches. In the last inning, just two of the fifteen pitches thrown by Hernandez were fastballs. He didn’t throw a single fastball in the eighth inning. Because of his dependence on offspeed pitches, Felix was able to keep velocity on his fastball late into the game, proved by the fact that his last four-seamer clocked in a 95 mph.
John Jaso played a major role in Felix’ outing as well. Jaso and his pitcher remained on the same page all game long, and the trust that Hernandez showed in his catcher was a testament to how well Jaso called the game. Despite the fact that Jaso isn’t normally recognized as a good defensive catcher, his effect on the perfect game is undeniable.
My finishing thought is that I am so glad that we didn’t trade Hernandez at the deadline. King Felix belongs to us.
Something that has been lost in the excitement of the perfecto is the fact that Seattle has now won two straight series. The Mariners are essentially out of playoff race, but it’s still nice to win games against teams that are competing for spots in October.
In case you missed the perfect game, the game will be replayed on the radio in the Seattle area on AM 710 ESPN at 6:00 PM.