Felix Hernandez strikes out 13 Red Sox in shutout victory

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Between this, the Giants-Reds game and my well-known yet uncontrollable pitching fetish, I am really not liking living in the eastern time zone today. If NBC would act on my long-standing request to set me up in a nice little flat in that interwar Pacific Heights co-op I would have been awake for both of these, dammit.

Anyway: Felix Hernandez was wicked good last night, throwing his fifth career shutout and striking out 13. He allowed five singles and walked a dude, but that was about it.

The Sox got good pitching too, though, with Franklin Morales allowing only three hits in his seven inning, and it was 0-0 entering the ninth. The Red Sox had a chance to draw first blood that inning, putting runners on first and second with one out. But then Adrian Gonzalez flied out and Will “1 for 15 since the Youkilis trade” Middlebrooks popped out. Sorry, but you know people are thinkin’ it.

The M’s won it in the bottom of the inning when John Jaso singled to right field to score Casper Wells from second base. Cody Ross actually had Wells dead to rights on the throw — it beat him to the plate — but Jarrod Saltalamacchia couldn’t keep a handle on it.

I guess on a night where Felix Hernandez pitched so brilliantly, the fates couldn’t keep the W from him.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.