King Felix pitches perfect game against the Rays

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6:02 p.m EDT update: Hernandez is perfect, getting a called third strike on Sean Rodriguez to end the ninth. It’s the first perfect game in Mariners history, and the Rays became the first team ever to be on the losing end of three perfect games.

Hernandez ended up striking out five of the final six hitters he faced to end the day with 12 strikeouts. It’s his first no-hitter and perfect game and eighth career shutout.

5:48 p.m. EDT update: The eighth inning figured to be a bigger test for Hernandez than the ninth, but King Felix struck out Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist and Carlos Pena to keep the perfect game going. He’s at 10 strikeouts and 98 pitches through eight.

The Rays are due to send up Jose Lobaton, Elliot Johnson and Sean Rodriguez in the ninth. Those three are hitting a respective .228, .245 and .207 this season. The Rays, however, have both Jeff Keppinger and Desmond Jennings available off the bench and figure to use them. Keppinger is hitting .321, while Jennings is at .255.

5:25 p.m. EDT update: Hernandez is perfect through seven, though Rays manager Joe Maddon tried to disrupt his rhythm by getting tossed and taking part in a lengthy discussion with home plate umpire Rob Drake with two outs in the inning.

Maddon had a case: the called strike to Matt Joyce to start his at-bat was well off the plate. But while Hernandez has been getting calls, Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson hasn’t fared badly there himself. That’s why it’s a 1-0 game with no walks and only a couple of three-ball counts through 6 1/2 innings.

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Felix Hernandez is dealing at Safeco Field today. He’s gone 18 up, 18 down against the Rays, and he’s at just 69 pitches with seven strikeouts in a 1-0 game.

Whether it results in a no-hitter or a perfect game is anyone’s guess, but he’s certainly showing that kind of form against a lineup that includes just one guy batting over .275 in Evan Longoria. It’s MLB.tv’s free game of the day, so most everyone can go check it out if they wish.

For what it’s worth, Hernandez has seven career shutouts, three of them coming this year. He’s pitched one one-hitter, that coming against the Red Sox way back on April 11, 2007. He also allowed one hit over eight scoreless innings against the Twins earlier this season.

Dodgers look to join the Red Sox in the World Series

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One team has punched its ticket to the Fall Classic. Two teams are looking to join them, with the Dodgers carrying the distinct advantage. Los Angeles needs only a split in the final two games of the NLCS while Milwaukee needing to win both games at home. Doable? Absolutely. But to do it, the Brewers are going to have to wake up their sleepy bats.

NLCS Game 6

Dodgers vs. Brewers
Ballpark: Miller Park
Time: 8:39 PM Eastern
TV: FS1
Pitchers:  Hyun-Jin Ryu vs Wade Miley
Breakdown:

The Dodgers will give the ball to left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, who tossed seven shutout innings in Game 1 of the NLDS but allowed two runs and tossed 72 pitches, failing to get out of the fifth inning, in Game 2 against Milwaukee. Even if he again turns in a short outing Dave Roberts should feel pretty confident, however, as the Dodgers’ bullpen — considered a question mark coming into this series — has allowed only three runs in in 21 and two-thirds innings of work.

For Milwaukee it’s once again Wade Miley, who was the Game 5 “starter,” but who pitched to only one batter. I suppose it’s possible that Craig Counsell will burn him like that again, but it seems more likely that Miley will actually pitch in this game rather than be used as a decoy.

As I noted the other day, though, the Brewers’ pitching gamesmanship has not really been a factor in this series. The real problem for them has been their offense. They’ve scored only 16 runs in five games while batting .219. That’s actually identical to the Dodgers’ run total and average overall, but L.A. has been better at distributing that meager offense. Milwaukee has been cold at the worst times, too, going 5-for-35 with runners in scoring position in the series, including one for their last 11. If that doesn’t change, their season ends tonight.