Felix Hernandez struggled yesterday, allowing four runs on 11 hits in 6.1 innings against the A’s and the weird part is that he had zero strikeouts.
Hernandez faced 31 batters and whiffed none of them, which is especially odd because through his first seven starts this season he racked up 53 strikeouts in 46 innings.
Last time Hernandez failed to record a strikeout was way back on August 19, 2008, when he pitched five innings against the White Sox. He was 22 years old then and that was 181 starts ago, which is why King Felix seemed so confused afterward when asked about his performance by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune:
I’m in shock right now. It doesn’t bother me, but it shocks me. No strikeouts. Not a good breaking ball. Not a good change-up. That’s what happens when you don’t have good stuff.
Here’s the good news, potentially: Last time Hernandez failed to record a strikeout in that 2008 game against the White Sox he followed it up with back-to-back Quality Starts in which he struck out 14 batters in 12 innings.
Rick Morissey of the Chicago Sun-Times published an article on Sunday giving a bit of insight into Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. When Epsten was younger, he dabbled in sportswriting, but quickly realized the trade wasn’t for him.
As Morissey details, when Epstein was 19 years old writing for Yale’s student newspaper, he wrote an article suggesting the school’s football coach should be fired during what would become a 3-7 season. Epstein was told during the meeting that one writer would defend the coach and one would call for his job. “It was a lesson in the way that the world of journalism sometimes works. It was an eye-opener for me. I regret it, and I’ve happily moved on.”
Epstein continued, “I realized I didn’t want to be a sportswriter when I was interning with the Orioles back in ’92, ’93, ’94. I did do a lot of media-relations stuff, and I saw that the life of a sportswriter is pretty lonely. You kind of work by yourself, sit there by yourself in the press box, go back to the hotel bar. Not to generalize.” He added, “But I really respect writing and respect sportswriters.”
He’s not wrong, and he seems to have found his calling as a front office executive. His Cubs are back in the World Series for the first time since 1945.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis tweeted on Sunday, “Got a little too close to [Francisco Lindor] during the celebration!! Freak accident but should be good to go by Tuesday! #cantkeepmeoutofthisgame!”
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, manager Terry Francona said Kipnis is dealing with a low ankle sprain, but he’s expected to be ready to go when the World Series begins on Tuesday. Kipnis went through fielding drills on Sunday.
Kipnis is hitting .167/.219/.367 with a pair of homers and four RBI in eight games this postseason.