Felix Hernandez
AP Images

Video: Félix Hernández records his 2,500th career strikeout

2 Comments

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.

Bryce Harper letting his haters be his motivators

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
1 Comment

When the Phillies go on the road, and even sometimes at home, outfielder Bryce Harper is a magnet for hecklers. Fans have been chanting things like “overrated” at him. But it hasn’t really been working.

Last night, Harper was being booed and ridiculed by fans at Fenway Park according to MLB.com’s Jessica Camerato. Harper shut them up with a two-run home run in the fifth inning which gave the Phillies a 3-2 lead, the score by which they would eventually win. Manager Gabe Kapler said, “I thought it was really interesting. There were some hecklers. I don’t know if they were Red Sox [fans] or who they were, but they were on him pretty good up until that moment. That was a pretty explosive moment for the dugout celebration.”

It is not the only time Harper has been heckled only to homer shortly thereafter.

Last week, Harper was 0-for-3 in a game against the Cubs. On his way back to the dugout, a fan yelled, “$330 million, 0-for-3.” Per TMZ Sports, Harper responded, “Shut the f–k up, stupid!” He would go on to hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Two weeks ago in San Francisco, fans chanted “overrated” at Harper. He promptly hit one of his two home runs in the Phillies’ 9-6 victory.

Harper was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2009, when he was 17 years old. Tom Verducci compared him to LeBron James, a comparison that has stuck with Harper ever since. He was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2010 draft. He’s more than used to being in the spotlight and more than used to hearing a little criticism. He lets his haters be his motivators. Maybe his detractors should approach it from the opposite angle — try killing him with kindness. Yelling, “Bryce, you have great hair!” might get him to go on an 0-for-54 skid.