Felix Hernandez ejected for the first time in his career

18 Comments

This has been a month of rarities for Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. Last week he recorded zero strikeouts in a game for the first time in 181 starts and last night he was ejected from a game for the first time in his entire 10-year career.

Hernandez was actually already removed from the game by Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon when he got ejected. As he was leaving the mound following a mediocre outing–he allowed four runs on eight hits in 6.2 innings, but got tons of run support for an easy win–Hernandez yelled at home plate umpire Mark Ripperger over what he felt were bad ball/strike calls earlier in the final at-bat that ended with a three-run double.

When questioned afterward about what he said to the umpire, King Felix joked: “I was asking about the Miami Heat score. He didn’t even know.”

Also of note is that after managing zero strikeouts in his previous start Hernandez struck out seven batters last night, although he’s now allowed 11 runs on 24 hits in 18 innings so far this month. Most of those issues look batting average on ball in play-related though, because Hernandez hasn’t coughed up a homer in May yet.

Announcement: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $45,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $7,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Kershaw-Sale anything but a pitcher’s duel

Elsa/Getty Images
1 Comment

World Series Game 1 was billed as a battle of aces, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw against Chris Sale of the Red Sox. Between them, they have 14 All-Star Game nominations. Kershaw has won three Cy Young Awards. Sale could his first Cy Young Award this year. Among his 10 seasons with at least 110 innings pitched, Kershaw has never posted a sub-2.92 ERA. Sale has been at 2.90 or below in each of the last two seasons. The two have combined for over 4,000 career strikeouts and both have averaged better than a strikeout per inning over their careers.

And yet Tuesday’s Game 1 was anything but a pitcher’s duel between Kershaw and Sale. Though a couple of fielding mistakes weren’t of any help to Kershaw in the first inning, Red Sox batters were squaring him up good. Of the five balls put in play in the first inning, three had exit velocities of 100 MPH or higher. Of the 12 total balls put in play against him overall, five reached triple digits in exit velo.

Kershaw gave up a pair of runs in the first, another run in the third on a J.D. Martinez double to straightaway center field, and another two in the fifth. Kershaw led off the fifth by walking Mookie Betts, then giving up a single to Andrew Benintendi, ending his night. Ryan Madson relieved Kershaw and proceeded to allow both inherited runners to score. All told, Kershaw yielded five runs on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts on 79 pitches in four-plus innings.

Sale, meanwhile, was on the hook for individual runs in the second, third, and fifth. Dodger hitters weren’t squaring him up quite as well as the Red Sox batters squared up Kershaw, but Sale was still more hittable than usual. Of the eight balls put in play against him, four were at least 90 MPH in exit velo. One of the runs was a no-doubt solo home run to Matt Kemp in the second. The Dodgers chased Sale in the fifth when he issued a leadoff walk to Brian Dozier. Matt Barnes relieved him allowed the inherited runner to score. Overall, Sale threw 91 pitches in four-plus innings, serving up three runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.

The game is now, as has been generally the case throughout this postseason, a battle of the bullpens.