Tag:Felix Hernandez
Posted on: July 9, 2010 12:55 am
Edited on: July 9, 2010 6:20 pm
 

3 to watch: The It takes (more than) 2 edition

So maybe the Mariners did just fine.

Maybe Justin Smoak and the prospects they got from the Rangers are better than the three players they gave the Phillies for Cliff Lee.

But let's remember, that was never the idea. The idea was that by teaming Lee with Felix Hernandez, the M's would have an unbeatable 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation.

That idea didn't work.

For five weeks now, the M's started Lee and Hernandez in back-to-back games. For five weeks now, Lee and Hernandez were nearly unbeatable, with a combined 10-2 record and 1.98 ERA -- with five complete games.

And for those five weeks, the Mariners have still been well below .500.

They won most of the games that Lee and Hernandez started (11 of 16). They lost almost every game with anyone else on the mound (18 of 23).

And they went from 7 1/2 games out of first place in the American League West to 16 games out of first place.

It didn't work, which is exactly why Lee is on the way out of town. He could still win the AL West, but it would be for the Rangers, not the Mariners.

As for the Yankees, the team that thought it was winning the Lee trade sweepstakes (and remains the favorite in this winter's Lee free-agent sweepstakes), all they get is the pleasure of not facing the Lee-Hernandez duo this weekend at Safeco Field. They could face Lee in August in Texas, and maybe in September in Texas, too.

Oh, and they could face Lee in October.

On to this final pre-All-Star edition of 3 to watch:

1. If the All-Star Game is about rewarding players who have performed the best in the first half of the season, then Stephen Strasburg doesn't belong. If it's about putting on the best show for the fans, it's hard to see how Strasburg doesn't belong. Think of it this way: When I tell you that Strasburg will be the starting pitcher in Giants at Nationals, Friday night (7:05 EDT) at Nationals Park , does that make you want to tune in and watch? Thought so.

2. Instead of facing the first-place Yankees Friday night in Seattle, Lee will get last-place Baltimore, probably in Orioles at Rangers, Saturday night (8:05 EDT) at Rangers Ballpark . Lucky Orioles. They've never beaten Lee in five tries, and already lost to him once this year. Of course, Lee has beaten the Yankees five of the last six times he has faced them, including twice in the World Series and once last month in New York. Meanwhile, the Yankees get Seattle's David Pauley, who lost both his starts against them when he pitched for the Red Sox.

3. So the way we understand this, the American League isn't going to replace CC Sabathia on the American League All-Star team until he actually starts Sunday's game in Seattle. Then, according to what AL manager Joe Girardi told reporters this week, he'll pick Jered Weaver to replace Sabathia on the roster. Which is nice, except that Weaver will then himself need to be replaced on the roster, because he's scheduled to start in Angels at A's, Sunday (4:05 EDT) at the Coliseum . Oh, and Trevor Cahill, the A's representative on the All-Star team, will need to be replaced, too, because he's pitching Sunday, too. Maybe Girardi can pick Zack Greinke (no, he's pitching Sunday!) or Carl Pavano (no, he's pitching Sunday!). Or maybe he'll find someone who actually will be eligible to pitch for him on Tuesday.





Posted on: April 30, 2010 10:30 am
 

3 to watch: The who needs April edition

Saturday is May 1, and that means Saturday is the first anniversary of Joe Mauer's 2009 debut with the Twins.

The first anniversary of the first day of an MVP season.

A year ago today, the two teams that would meet for the American League championship were 11-10 (Yankees) and 9-11 (Angels). The team that would win the National League wild card, the Rockies, was 8-12. The guy who would win the NL Rookie of the Year (Chris Coghlan) was still in the minor leagues, and the guy who would win the AL Rookie of the Year (Andrew Bailey) had yet to record the first of his 26 saves.

The point isn't that April is meaningless. But a great season doesn't depend on it.

Which is good news for Cliff Lee, Brad Lidge, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Ian Kinsler and anyone else readying for a 2010 debut this weekend.

And good news for this weekend's 3 to watch:

1. Felix and Cliff. Cliff and Felix. That was supposed to be the 2010 Mariners, right? So maybe it fits that Lee's injury-delayed Mariner debut falls on Felix Hernandez bobblehead night, in Rangers at Mariners, tonight (10:10 EDT) at Safeco Field . The M's went 11-11 while Lee recovered from an abdominal strain, and in the crazy American League West, that was good enough to leave them just half a game out of first place. They're one game ahead of the last-place Rangers, who will be just as happy to see second baseman Ian Kinsler make his 2010 debut, after missing the first month of the season with an ankle problem.

2. The Phillies survived Lidge's terrible 2009 season, all the way up to the World Series, so it's no real surprise that they survived when he missed the first 21 games of this season while recovering from elbow and knee surgeries. But fill-in closer Ryan Madson converted only four of his six save opportunities and has a 7.00 ERA, so we'll believe manager Charlie Manuel when he says, "We can always use Lidge back." He returns tonight, although the game we want to see in this series is Mets at Phillies, Saturday afternoon (3:10 EDT) at Citizens Bank Park . That's Roy Halladay (4-1, 1.80) against Mike Pelfrey (4-0, 0.69, and 24 consecutive scoreless innings). Of course, with Halladay's history (51 career complete games, including two in his first five starts with the Phillies), Lidge may not be needed on Saturday.

3. What should we expect from Matsuzaka, who missed the first month of the season with a strained neck? We really don't have much of an idea, do we, which is what makes his 2010 debut, in Red Sox at Orioles, Saturday night (7:05 EDT) at Camden Yards compelling. At his best, Matsuzaka gives the Red Sox perhaps the best 1-5 rotation in baseball, along with Josh Beckett (who had a terrible April), Jon Lester, John Lackey and Clay Buchholz. At his worst -- well, last year Matsuzaka was 4-6 with a 5.76 ERA in just 12 starts.

Posted on: April 25, 2010 10:03 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2010 10:13 pm
 

3 to watch: The almost Cy vs. Cy edition

This is the week you really wish you could tweak a couple of pitching rotations.

This is the week the Mariners play the Royals -- but 2009 Cy Young rivals Felix Hernandez (pitching Monday) and Zack Greinke (pitching Tuesday) miss each other by a day.

This is the week the Phillies play the Giants -- but possible 2010 Cy Young rivals Roy Halladay (pitching Monday) and Tim Lincecum (pitching Wednesday) miss each other by two days.

That's fine, because this is also the week the Tigers and Twins get together for the first time this season. So, with no power to change rotations, we'll stick with the American League Central rivals to lead off this week's 3 to watch:

1. The Twins never led the division by more than one game last year -- and they didn't even hold that lead until two days after the regular season was scheduled to end. The Twins already lead by three games this year, and one scout who saw them recently declared, "If they had a legitimate closer, they'd be one of the top three teams in baseball." We're not sure about that, but we are sure that the Twins and Tigers played the best single game we saw all last season. Their first meeting since comes this week, in Twins at Tigers, Tuesday night (7:05 EDT) at Comerica Park . Justin Verlander, who finished third in last year's Cy Young voting, faces Francisco Liriano, who is off to the kind of start that could get him into this year's Cy race.

2. Not everyone predicted that the Twins would be this good. Believe it or not, someone (that would be me) picked the White Sox to win the AL Central. Hey, it still could happen, especially if the White Sox keep up this weekend's one game-winning homer a day pace -- or if Jake Peavy (7.66) and Gavin Floyd (8.38) recover to have two of the best ERAs in the AL, instead of two of the worst. Peavy, Floyd and the Sox get another chance this week, with Peavy starting in White Sox at Rangers, Wednesday night (8:05 EDT) at Rangers Ballpark .

3. It's not Halladay vs. Lincecum, as we hoped for. But it is Lincecum against the two-time NL champs, and we'll take that. Over the last two years, Lincecum's ERA against the Phillies: 1.24. The Phillies' run total in the other 338 (regular-season) games they played: 5.07. Lincecum starts against Cole Hamels, in Phillies at Giants, Wednesday afternoon (3:45 EDT) at AT&T Park .


Posted on: February 18, 2010 7:42 pm
 

Felix the Mariner

PEORIA, Ariz. -- As the Johnny Damon free-agent soap opera drags on, nobody seems certain what part Damon's wife is playing in his decision (or so far lack of decision).

Here's one thing we do know: Felix Hernandez's wife Sandra is part of the reason that Hernandez is still a Mariner, and will be for at least the next five years.

Asked about the new contract today, Hernandez talked about how much he likes playing in Seattle -- and how much his wife and family like living there.

"Last year, when the rumors were that I might get traded, my wife was sad, because she didn't want to move," Hernandez said. "We wanted to stay in Seattle."

The Mariners were talking about trading Hernandez, and some people with the Red Sox still believe that they weren't that far from making a deal. But Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik, while admitting that he talked to teams about Hernandez, said that one big reason that a trade didn't get done (and might never have gotten done) is what Hernandez told him when the two talked.

Zduriencik wanted to make sure that Hernandez really wanted to stay. Hernandez assured him that he wanted to stay.

Sure enough, Hernandez agreed to a five-year contract last month.

He loves Seattle. And so, he said today, does his wife.
Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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