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.
The Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.
Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.
The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.
It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.
The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.