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.
Last night’s Angels-Astros game was a long affair with a bunch of homers and the use of 11 pitchers in all. The Angels used six pitchers and all of that business led to plenty of conferences. Six, in fact, which is their allotment under the new rule capping mound visits. As far as I can tell, that makes the Angels the first team to use up all of their mound visits since the advent of the rule.
Sadly, they did not try to go for a seventh, thereby testing the currently unknown limits of the rule. Umpires have been instructed to not allow additional mound visits, but they cannot issue balls or tackle anyone or anything to enforce it. Presumably, if Maldonado had walked out to talk to Cam Bedrosian about the weather or where he was going to dinner after the game, the home plate umpire would’ve simply done the old Robin Williams English policeman’s bit of yelling “Stop! . . . or I shall yell ‘Stop!’ again!” Maybe a fine would issue later, but we’ll never know.
At least until someone breaks the limit. And we know someone will, right? We should have a betting pool on who does it.