39,204 fans packed a usually-dormant Safeco Field on a Tuesday night in August to take in the sights and sounds of pure dominance. Six days ago, Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game – the 23rd such event in recorded Major League history. And tonight, the Mariners and 39,204 of their closest friends were on hand to give a hand to the best pitcher in the game.
We were there to see history, but three pitches in we saw the first batter line a single to right. There wouldn’t be any back-to-back perfect games tonight. But, in a way, we saw a different kind of history. According to Larry Stone, and others I suppose, starting pitchers don’t tend to fare very well in their next game post-perfecto. I’d have to say giving up 1 run in 7.2 innings qualifies as one of the better post-perfecto efforts.
It was quite the scene. In the first inning, as the first batter had two strikes on him, the stadium came alive with people chanting, hoping for a strikeout. After that, the crowd died down a bit, but there was always people waving their K-cards whenever Felix got two strikes on a batter. And, when Felix got into a jam, the crowd could sense he needed a little extra juice and they cheered him on all the more.
Speaking of extra juice, I don’t know if this came across on TV or not, but just before Jesus Montero broke the game open with a 3-run home run, people started chanting Je-sus! Je-sus! I’m not saying that was the reason he got the home run, but I’m saying maybe we could get that chant going a little more often just in case.
The game looked a little iffy early. Felix kinda struggled, but managed to put up a bunch of zeroes. Meanwhile, the other Hernandez, Cleveland’s Roberto Hernandez, had a no-hitter through the first 14 batters (with his lone blemish a base on balls courtesy of John Jaso in the 2nd, erased by a double play). Fortunately, that 12th batter was Eric Thames, and Eric Thames jacked a homer to right to give Felix a 1-0 lead.
That stuck until the top of the 7th when Felix gave up a flurry of singles, allowing the Indians to tie it. But, since Felix is Felix, he got out of the jam. It was 1-1, and if these were the Mariners of a couple months ago, you’d think it was all over. But, THESE Mariners – these Mariners of the here and now – are fucking ballers! 7-game winning streak, 9 wins in their last 10 games, 14 wins in their last 15 home games … granted, they’ve been playing some pretty shitty teams, but still, a win is a win is a win.
Did you know the Mariners are now 60-64? Did you know the last time the Mariners were 4 games within .500, it was back on May 23rd after a win against the Rangers? They were 21-25. Then, the Mariners were swept by the Angels and never looked
back forward. Did you know the Mariners have the best record in baseball since the All Star Break? 24-13 over their last 37 games. These Mariners are fun to watch!
These Mariners are 3.5 games behind the Angels. EVERYONE LAUGH AT THE UNDERPERFORMING ANGELS!
These Mariners have a winning record at home.
These Mariners have a +4 run differential.
These Mariners are 7.5 games out of a Wild Card Spot. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.
I’ve been looking at it, and I think this might be the last home game I go to this season. I’ll be out of town for most of the next homestand, and I’m not really at liberty to plan things beyond that. Regardless, if this was the last game I go to this season, what a way to go out! Really, as a team, my enjoyment is at an all-time high. Yeah, I always love watching Felix, but the rest of these guys aren’t too shabby either. A 5-1 win.
P.S. – Felix is 12-5 on the season, with a 2.54 ERA. He’s currently 3rd in ERA behind Verlander (2.53) and Price (2.28). He’s currently 3rd in Strikeouts with 179, behind Verlander (180) and Scherzer (183). He’s currently 1st in innings pitched (187.2) with at least 7 more starts to go. And, if it matters to you, he’s currently tied for 7th in wins (Price leads with 16). And he’s also 7th in WAR and 3rd in WHIP. These are facts. I’m not building a case for his Cy Young chances yet; I’m just stating facts.
Felix is awesome. Felix is the king.