Felix Hernandez was handed a no-decision against the Rays this afternoon, but it was hardly his fault. He was nothing short of fantastic, striking out a career-high 15 batters over seven scoreless innings. He reached 1,800 strikeouts for his career during his dominant outing. The Mariners eventually won the game 5-0.
Hernandez is the second pitcher in MLB to reach 15 strikeouts this season, joining Jon Lester of the Red Sox. King Felix’s previous career-high in strikeouts was 13, which he did on three occasions.
After today’s brilliant effort, Hernandez owns a 2.39 ERA across 14 starts and leads the majors with 106 strikeouts. The Mariners have won two in a row and now sit at a surprising 33-29 on the year.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.
The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.
The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.