Last night Felix Hernandez beat the Red Sox while racking up seven strikeouts in 7.2 innings of two-run ball and in doing so became the fourth-youngest pitcher in baseball history to reach 1,000 career strikeouts.
Here are the leaders, according to Elias Sports Bureau:
Bob Feller 1941 22 years, 179 days
Bert Blyleven 1974 23 years, 131 days
Dwight Gooden 1988 23 years, 249 days
Felix Hernandez 2010 24 years, 139 days
That’s an interesting list, because while Blyleven ranks fifth all time with 3,701 career strikeouts neither Feller nor Gooden crack the top 25. Feller ranks 26th with 2,581 and Gooden ranks 46th with 2,293.
As for King Felix this season, poor run support from the Mariners’ horrendous offense leaves him with a 10-10 record despite leading the league with 205 innings and posting a career-best 2.47 ERA that ranks third in the AL. Last season he finished second in the Cy Young voting while posting a 2.49 ERA in 239 innings, but also had a 19-5 record to help his cause with voters.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.
McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).
McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.