Felix Hernandez struggled yesterday, allowing four runs on 11 hits in 6.1 innings against the A’s and the weird part is that he had zero strikeouts.
Hernandez faced 31 batters and whiffed none of them, which is especially odd because through his first seven starts this season he racked up 53 strikeouts in 46 innings.
Last time Hernandez failed to record a strikeout was way back on August 19, 2008, when he pitched five innings against the White Sox. He was 22 years old then and that was 181 starts ago, which is why King Felix seemed so confused afterward when asked about his performance by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune:
I’m in shock right now. It doesn’t bother me, but it shocks me. No strikeouts. Not a good breaking ball. Not a good change-up. That’s what happens when you don’t have good stuff.
Here’s the good news, potentially: Last time Hernandez failed to record a strikeout in that 2008 game against the White Sox he followed it up with back-to-back Quality Starts in which he struck out 14 batters in 12 innings.
The Dodgers only need one more win to clinch the NL pennant and advance to a World Series showdown against the Red Sox, but they might not get that chance tonight. Following David Freese‘s leadoff home run off of Milwaukee left-hander Wade Miley, the Brewers erupted for four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take the lead.
In his second start of the NLCS, Dodgers’ southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu had a two-on, two-out situation when Jesus Aguilar came up to the plate in the first inning. Aguilar worked a 2-1 count against Ryu, then lashed a two-run line drive double to right field, bringing both Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun home to score. In the next at-bat, Mike Moustakas drove in Aguilar with a first-pitch double to right, while Erik Kratz‘s RBI single topped off the Brewers’ four-run spread to give them an early 4-1 advantage.
Ryu didn’t get a reprieve for long. In the second, Christian Yelich and Braun went back-to-back with another pair of doubles to advance the Brewers 5-1 above their National League rivals. The lefty was pulled after just three innings of seven-hit, five-run, three-strikeout ball — per MLB.com’s Bill Shaikin, it marked just the second time the 31-year-old had given up four or more runs in a start this season.
The Dodgers started to work their way back in the fifth inning: Freese returned with an RBI double that plated Brian Dozier, who scooted around from first and easily beat the tag at the plate to score the Dodgers’ second run of the night. Together, the teams have combined for five doubles in five innings. The Brewers still lead in the fifth, 5-2.