King Felix Takes the Throne
Felix Hernandez, known to most as King Felix, pitched the Seattle Mariners first ever perfect game today against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Felix’s game stat line was 9 innings pitched with 0 hits, 0 BB’s and 12 K’s. In what has clearly been the year of the pitcher, Felix’s perfect game was the third overall in baseball this year, which has never happened before. It was also the sixth no-hitter of the season. Felix has been one of the top pitchers in all of baseball for more than half of a decade. He has averaged close to 180 strikeouts a season and has a 3.19 career ERA. The fact that he has achieved these remarkable numbers while pitching for the lowly Seattle Mariners makes his feat even more impressive.
King Felix is only the second Latin-American born pitcher to ever pitch a perfect game, the first being Dennis Martinez. Felix is also only the 7th player to pitch a perfect game after already winning the Cy Young award. For a pitcher who won’t make too many playoff appearances while he remains with Seattle, sure is making a strong case early in his career for his name to be placed in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Hernandez hurled his perfect 9 innings in the most impressive fashion possible against a formidable opponent. The Devil Rays have been one of the better teams in baseball having won 8 out of their last 10 games while holding onto a slim 1 game lead for one of the AL Wildcard slots. Seattle on the other hand has holstered the 4th worst record in the American League and are really only playing for pride at this point.
This was only the 23rd perfect game in baseball history, so Felix finds himself in an elite class of players. With Ichiro traded to the Yankees near the trade deadline, Felix is the clear fan favorite in Seattle now and he didn’t forget to acknowledge them after his historic moment. During a post game interview Felix exclaimed, “I don’t have any words to explain this, I’ve been working so hard to throw one and today is for you guys.” Funny enough, the self-destructing franchise that is the Seattle Mariners has had Felix’s name at the top of the trade block for many seasons now. Even with the distractions and cruddy hitting around him, Felix has never really lost his cool and continues to find himself in the top echelon of pitchers every season.
As the saying goes, with every perfect game there is at least one perfect play in the field. In this game, the perfect play didn’t come from the defense but rather from the aggressive base running of their ninth hitter, Brendan Ryan, when he stole second and advance to third on a wild pitch. He later came to score on a two out single from former Yankee, Jesus Montero, for the lone run of the game. When you ask any pitcher who ever threw a perfect game if it was on their mind, they will all tell you that they were never really thinking about it and that they only were focused on winning the game. Felix claimed that it was clearly on his mind, “It was in my mind, the whole game, it was in my mind,” he exclaimed. You could feel it on the minds of all the fan’s, especially those seated in Safeco Field’s “King’s Corner,” where every one of them were dressed in their gold shirts and were jovially standing every second of the game.
The atmosphere was great and the setting was perfect. Arguably one of the best pitchers in baseball who has been at the forefront of trade rumors for majority of his career pitching the teams first ever Perfect Game…what a story! Congratulations to the Seattle Mariners and to King Felix. Long Live the King!