I’d even say redonkulous but I said that about someone last week and I should probably conserve my ammo in this regard. But do know this: Felix Hernandez is making hitters look silly. Sillier than he normally does, that is, which is pretty silly itself.
Last night Hernandez pitched circles around the Blue Jays, allowing one run on three hits and striking out eight Jays batters. It was his 16th consecutive start with at least seven innings pitched and two or fewer runs allowed. That’s a record he is continuing to extend. Which, it’s worth noting, was previously held by Chief Bender of all of people. In that 16-start span he is 8-2 with a 1.41 ERA and 134 strikeouts.
Last week I mused about whether a pitcher could or should win the MVP in the National League. While I think that’s far less reasonable an option in the AL, I assume no small amount of people will be thinking along those lines with respect to Hernandez pretty soon. Especially if the Mariners make the playoffs.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.