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

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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.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).