Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez had a chance to hit two major milestones on Saturday, entering the day with 99 career wins and 1,495 career strikeouts. The right-hander struck out three in 4-3 loss, so his 100th win and 1,500th strikeout will have to wait for another day.
Despite falling short of the milestones, Hernandez still managed to do something rather unique on Saturday. It wasn't good, though. He allowed a home run to Alex Riosof the White Sox, which by itself isn't all that interesting, but the homer came when Hernandez was ahead in the count no balls and two strikes. It was only the fifth 0-2 long ball he's allowed in his 1,634 1/3-inning career.
Here's the list of 0-2 homers, courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com:
- June 15, 2007: Mike Lamb, Astros (two-run homer)
- July 27, 2007: Nick Swisher, Athletics (solo)
- Aug. 19, 2007: Josh Fields, White Sox (solo)
- Sept. 19, 2011: Adrian Beltre, Rangers (two-run)
- April 6, 2013: Alex Rios, White Sox (two-run)
That's it. Hernandez came into Saturday's start having gone to an 0-2 count to 1,348 batters in his career, and those players hit .141/.176/.199 with 686 strikeouts (50.9 percent).
Fewer pitchers are as brutally effective as Hernandez when it comes to putting hitters away in an 0-2 count, so Rios' homer on Saturday was pretty impressive. Not many people can say they got the best of the King in the game's most pitcher-friendly count.