Mariners ace Felix Hernandez didn’t last very long in Friday night’s start against the Astros. The right-hander gave up eight runs on five hits and two walks with one strikeout before he was taken out of the game with only one out in the first inning. Joe Beimel relieved him and was able to finish the inning without any further damage.
Hernandez had only once before allowed eight runs in a start. That occurred on August 28, 2013 against the Rangers. He started but could not finish — could not even record an out in — the fourth inning. King Felix had failed to complete the first inning in a start once, on April 18, 2007 against the Twins, but that was due to an injury: a flexor pronator strain in his right elbow.
On Wednesday, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was hit by Cardinals pitcher Ramon Santos. It marked the seventh time an Astros batter had been hit in spring training exhibition games thus far, the highest total among all teams. As expected, teams are exacting revenge for the Astros’ cheating ways!
Well, not quite. The pitch Santos hit Bregman with was a 3-2 breaking ball that got away. Usually, if a pitcher is going to hit a batter as an act of revenge, he’ll attempt to do it with a first-pitch fastball.
José Altuve was also hit by a pitch against the Tigers on Sunday. The pitch, which looks to be the off-speed variety, appeared to graze his uniform as opposed to hitting him flush, so it was likely unintentional on the part of pitcher Nick Ramirez.
Other Astros to have been hit in spring training thus far: Alex De Goti, Aledmys Díaz, Osvaldo Duarte, Dustin Garneau, and Jake Meyers. Not exactly a who’s-who list of Code Breaker operatives.
Will some pitchers intentionally throw at the Astros this year? Almost certainly, despite commissioner Rob Manfred’s warning. Have they been doing it from the moment exhibition games began earlier this month? Certainly not.