OK, so he was facing a Brewers lineup comprised strictly of Triple-A players, but Felix Hernandez was like a hot knife through butter on Friday, allowing one hit in six innings of work.
He became the first pitcher to complete six innings this spring.
Hernandez struck out six, walked one and hit a batter. Overall, he’s allowed two runs in 13 innings and posted a 13/1 K/BB ratio this spring.
The Mariners have to be feeling very good about their pitching thus far. All told, Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Hisashi Iwakuma, Kevin Millwood, Hector Noesi, Blake Beavan and Charlie Furbush have a 2.67 ERA in 57 1/3 innings, which is terrific for Cactus League play. Only five of those guys will be in the rotation — my guess is that Beavan and Furbush get left out — but the depth should pay dividends later.
The Brewers and Dodgers haven’t had much action in Game 4 of the NLCS, bringing a 1-1 game through 10 innings and about four and a half hours. We finally got something to get the blood pumping, though, when Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado and Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar exchanged some words with each other, prompting both teams’ benches to spill onto the field.
With one out, Machado grounded a 3-1, 95 MPH fastball to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who made an easy throw to first base to complete the out. Machado, running the play out, dragged his left leg, slamming it into Aguilar’s leg as he crossed the bag, causing himself to stumble momentarily. Machado went back and jawed at Aguilar like it was his fault.
Machado has not had the best press in the NLCS. He failed to run out a grounder in Game 2, then made a couple of slides in Game 3 that attempted to interfere with Arcia at the second base bag. He was called for interference on the second one. Machado hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt for his actions tonight.
It’s difficult to imagine Machado’s behavior during the NLCS will affect his windfall as a free agent this offseason, but he’s proving to be somewhat of a distraction for a team trying to get back to the World Series. And that’s not good.