Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee need a nickname

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At least John McGrath of the Tacoma News-Tribune thinks they do. He starts with a couple of ideas:

Is anybody pondering a nickname for the Mariners’ one-two punch?
Hmmn. If Hernandez is “King Felix,” his counterpart should also own a
title of distinction, something along the line of, say, “General Lee.”

King
Felix and General Lee. I can see that poster on a kid’s wall, with
Hernandez wearing a crown and Lee dressed up in a 19th-century military
uniform . . . Of
course, there’s always the standard “Fire and Ice,” with Hernandez
appointed as the Fire and Lee as the Ice. That wouldn’t be a stretch:
Felix is animated on the mound, while Lee is a low-key type who keeps
his cool.

Blah. General Lee suffers from two problems: (1) you go putting someone in a CSA army uniform in this day and age and someone is gonna start complaining; and (2) it’s so, so taken.

I’m also no fan of “Fire and Ice,” because I’ll forever associate that with Bucky and Lee from “The Black Dahlia,” and that book rules so hard that I’m not going to let some random six-runs-in-five-innings outing risk ruining the association for me.

The biggest problem with this is that you can’t go applying nicknames so early in the process.  Nicknames need some time to germinate and to grow. You can’t just pick them out in January all willy-nilly.  Sure, if nothing reveals itself for Lee and Hernandez by, say, Mother’s Day we can think harder about this. But for now let’s just use a placeholder.

Clifflix.

There. That’s done.  What’s next on the agenda?

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”