Mariners Game Recap: King Felix Hurls Complete Game Shutout


21. 3. 62. Final. 0

The Seattle Mariners (23-23) completed the 3-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays (24-24), winning 3-0 on Wednesday afternoon. Felix Hernandez (8-1, 1.91 ERA) was unbelievable today, pitching a complete game shutout for his 8th victory of the season. Rays’ closer Brad Boxberger (2-3, 2.95 ERA) took the loss for the second straight day after allowing 3 runs to cross the plate in the top of the 9th.

The Mariners are slowing inching closer to the American League West leading Houston Astros. With today’s win, Seattle has now tied the Los Angeles Angels for 2nd in the AL West, and sit 6.5 games back of the Astros.

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King Felix was Kingly on Wednesday against the Rays. Hernandez scattered 4 hits across 9 shutout innings this afternoon. The 29-year-old right-hander struck out 8 and walked 1 in the win. Felix toyed with Rays’ hitters all day, and 71 of his 101 pitches found the strike zone. Hernandez was robbed of the Cy Young in 2014, but he appears a virtual lock to take home the hardware in 2015. The King has started the season with a record of 8-1, and has posted an incredible 1.91 ERA across his first 70.2 innings.

Today’s complete game shutout was the first since August 27, 2012 for the King. The Mariners typically do not let Hernandez finish games as the hope is he will have enough left in the tank for the postseason. However, Fernando Rodney blew a 3-run lead last night, and Lloyd McClendon finally came to his senses and gave him the night off. I would personally give Rodney the rest of his career off, but hopefully he is able to regroup this week in Seattle after last night’s debacle.

Chris Archer was equally as impressive as Felix Hernandez today. The young fireballer hurled 8 shutout frames while allowing just 2 hits in the no-decision. Archer fanned 12 and walked none in what has to be considered his best outing of the season. The 26-year-old catches plenty of heat for his lack of command, but he had every pitch in his arsenal working today. The Mariners only had a runner on second base once during Archer’s 8 innings this afternoon. Archer is a future star in baseball, and he now sports a stingy 2.12 ERA across 68 innings in 2015.

For the second game in a row, Kevin Cash was burnt for turning the game over to his vaunted bullpen. Brad Boxberger has been a revelation as the Rays’ closer in 2015, but the past 2 games have not gone according to plan. He surrendered his first home run of the season last night when Kyle Seager hit the game winner in the 10th, and today he gave up a 3-run jack in the 9th.

May 27, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez (34) and designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) hug after they beat the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Seattle Mariners defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Mariners were unable to generate any offense this afternoon until the top of the 9th inning. With 2 out in the final frame, Boxberger issued back-to-back walks to Seth Smith and Robinson Cano. Both Smith and Cano worked the count full, and showed great poise at the plate. Nelson Cruz has a chance to win the Triple Crown in 2015, and he came through with yet another game winning home run today. Cruz crushed a Boxberger fastball deep to right-center field that splashed into the Sting Ray tank. Cruz’s 3-run blast was his 18th dinger of the season, and proved to be enough to carry the M’s to victory today.

After limping to a 10-12 record in April, the Mariners have turned it around big time in May. Seattle won 6 of 9 during their East Coast road trip, and head home having won 12 of their last 18 games. The M’s are at .500 for the first time since April 12, and if they win tomorrow night, they will have a winning record for the first time since opening day. The pitching is the key reason for the turnaround, as the M’s pitching staff has allowed an average of 3.3 runs per game over their last 18. The offense is still struggling, but Kyle Seager has come around, and that makes the M’s lineup much tougher for the opposition.

The Seattle Mariners (23-23) will try to break the .500 threshold on Thursday night against the Cleveland Indians (21-25) in the opener of a 4-game weekend series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 pm from the corner of Edgar & Dave. James Paxton (3-2, 3.52 ERA) has a 1.63 ERA over his last 6 outings, and he will get the ball for Seattle in the opener. Corey Kluber (2-5, 3.49 ERA) stole the Cy Young last year from King Felix, and he will look to prove himself tomorrow night in what figures to be a very unwelcoming environment. Root Sports Northwest will broadcast the game live, and Subscribers can watch on connected devices.

Next: Mariners Analysis: M's Are Right On Last Year's Pace

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