This has been a month of rarities for Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. Last week he recorded zero strikeouts in a game for the first time in 181 starts and last night he was ejected from a game for the first time in his entire 10-year career.
Hernandez was actually already removed from the game by Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon when he got ejected. As he was leaving the mound following a mediocre outing–he allowed four runs on eight hits in 6.2 innings, but got tons of run support for an easy win–Hernandez yelled at home plate umpire Mark Ripperger over what he felt were bad ball/strike calls earlier in the final at-bat that ended with a three-run double.
When questioned afterward about what he said to the umpire, King Felix joked: “I was asking about the Miami Heat score. He didn’t even know.”
Also of note is that after managing zero strikeouts in his previous start Hernandez struck out seven batters last night, although he’s now allowed 11 runs on 24 hits in 18 innings so far this month. Most of those issues look batting average on ball in play-related though, because Hernandez hasn’t coughed up a homer in May yet.
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Aaron Judge may be the talk of the town right now, but let’s not forget some of Major League Baseball’s more established sluggers. Take the Nationals’ Bryce Harper, for instance, who jumped on a full count during the first inning of Saturday’s game and postmarked the ball to the center field concourse in Chase Field.
Harper’s mammoth hit was the first career home run allowed by Diamondbacks’ rookie Anthony Banda. Banda quickly recovered with an inning-ending strikeout to Ryan Zimmerman, but was booted from his big league debut after Harper, Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon combined for a three-run spread in the sixth.
The first-inning homer also served another purpose: it extended Harper’s hitting streak to 15 games, the longest current streak in MLB this season. He’ll need four more games to tie the 19-game streak Royals’ infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield established back in June.
The Nationals currently lead the Diamondbacks 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Rangers’ right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez is slated for Tommy John surgery, according to a report by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Gonzalez was placed on the 60-day disabled list back in early April with a partial UCL tear and was working towards a throwing program before getting sidelined with more elbow pain. He’s expected to miss the entirety of the 2018 season while recovering from the surgery.
This is the second straight season that has been derailed for Gonzalez due to injury. The 25-year-old starter pitched just 10 1/3 innings in 2016 after recovering from a torn UCL, and was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to finish out the year after compiling an 8.71 ERA, 7.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 in three starts with the club. He showed more promise in Triple-A with a 4.70 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 5.9 SO/9 through 24 starts and 138 innings.
It’s a tough blow for the Rangers, who have seen Gonzalez healthy in just one major league season to date. General manager Jon Daniels told reporters that a recent MRI showed signs of weakening in the ligament, which disrupted the team’s plans to have the right-hander stick to a six- to eight-week recovery timetable after getting a platelet-rich plasma injection (via Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). The surgery is expected to take place next week and will put Gonzalez’s earliest return date sometime in September 2018.