Halfway through our journey last night, 2010 came flooding back in a big way. We were down early thanks to a 2-run bomb in the first inning, Felix subsequently settled down and kept us in the game, we scratch and claw for a run but nothing more, and there are tons of guys left on base because we can’t get the big hit when it matters. If that isn’t 2010 right down to the toenails, I don’t know what is!
But, then … stuff started happening. Yes, some of it was bad (leaving the bases loaded in two consecutive innings, letting Trevor Cahill strike us out EIGHT times), but a lot more of it was good. Working long counts, getting walks (Cahill gave up 4), making their starter work so hard that he couldn’t even finish the 5th inning of a game he was WINNING! This is their Number 1 Starter! And the A’s manager was so worried about our awe-inspiring offense that he had NO FAITH this Number 1 Starter could get 1 more out. Incredible!
We went on to tie it up, Figgins proceeded to jack a home run after Ichiro was caught in a rundown, and then the A’s defense simply imploded. 5 errors, 2 by third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff (one of the worst third basemen in the league). We built up a 6-2 lead after seven innings and let Felix ride the rest of the way on cruise control.
It was a pretty amazing performance by the King. He needed 20 pitches to work through a first inning where he had trouble locating his fastball. He then proceeded to throw 88 pitches while giving up only 3 more baserunners the rest of the way.
Prediction: Felix Hernandez will lead all of baseball in Complete Games. You know he wants to finish every game he starts anyway; when you win the Cy Young, you get a little more leeway when it comes to that ninth inning. I’ll just say this: Brandon League will NOT be blowing any more Felix saves, that’s for damn sure!