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.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.