Mariners right-hander Félix Hernández passed a notable career milestone during Saturday’s start against the Red Sox, becoming just the 36th pitcher in major-league history to record at least 2,500 strikeouts.
The auspicious strikeout arrived in the bottom of the second inning. With runners on the corners and no outs, Hernández worked a 1-2 count against Michael Chavis, who then missed a 92-m.p.h. sinker right on the edge of the strike zone for a called strike three. (In the next at-bat, the right-hander induced a swinging strikeout from Jackie Bradley Jr. for strikeout no. 2,501, too.)
Per the club’s PR department, Hernández is the sixth-youngest MLB pitcher to reach this particular mark. The 33-year-old trails Hall of Famers Bert Blyleven, Tom Seaver, Pedro Martínez, Walter Johnson, and Nolan Ryan, all of whom were between the ages of 31 and 33 years old when they logged their 2,500th career whiffs.
Following the strikeout, however, things went a bit south for the Mariners. In the bottom of the third, Hernández gave up four straight singles to J.D. Martinez, Mitch Moreland, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers, allowing the Red Sox to plate three runs and tie the game — and prompting Hernández’s quick removal as well.
Still, Saturday’s short-lived triumph was a nice break in an otherwise-tedious season for the veteran righty. Now three years removed from his last sub-4.00 ERA, 1.0+ fWAR performance with the club, he entered the game with a 1-3 record in seven starts and a 5.20 ERA, 1.2 BB/9, and 7.7 SO/9 through 36 1/3 innings in 2019.
The Mariners are currently tied 4-4 with the Red Sox in the third.