Last Saturday night, a group of us was seated at Safeco Field after the USSM/LL Q&A event, watching Felix Hernandez shut out the with a dozen strikeouts. Many of you who didn't attend the event were nevertheless following along on TV or on the radio. It was one of the very best pitching performances of Felix's entire career, a sentence that actually sells it short. Felix dominated and blanked perhaps the strongest team in the major leagues.
I don't know what the opposite of Felix's performance might be, but that same Saturday night, with the Tacoma Rainiers, Hector Noesi tried to have it. In his first triple-A start of the season, Noesi allowed seven runs in three and a third, with five walks and a strikeout. It was a catastrophe, and one could only hope that it would be a one-time incident. We could give Noesi another chance.
Noesi got his second chance tonight, with the Tacoma Rainiers, again in Tacoma. He lasted five innings and allowed ten runs, with three walks and three strikeouts. Grant Green took him deep in an eight-run fourth. Kila Ka'aihue also took him deep in the same frame. Noesi probably would've been removed earlier, but Wednesday night the Rainiers played an 18-inning contest that drove Ryan Divish crazy and that revealed that Twitter has an hourly tweet limit. Who had any idea? Thank you, Tacoma Rainiers. The winning pitcher was a position player who also hit a walk-off home run.
Through two starts, Noesi's ERA stands at 15.12. His RA stands at 18.37. I didn't watch him pitch, so I presume there was some bad luck involved in generating those results. I'm pretty comfortable making that assumption. I'm also pretty comfortable that Noesi didn't achieve an 18.37 RA on bad luck alone. It's all but impossible to allow that many runs if you aren't a disaster.
So Hector Noesi has sucked. In limited triple-A experience with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he was all right. This isn't the sort of thing that can be erased and forgotten in one or two starts. Noesi already had to earn his way back; now he's even further away than he was when he first got demoted.
Noesi began this season in the Majors and Danny Hultzen began this season in double-A and Hultzen is probably the more major-league ready of the two. Not that Hultzen deserves to be with the right now either, but Noesi has fallen fast. You'd like to see him take something away from this. The Mariners didn't send him to the minors specifically to humble him, but that was one of the factors, and there's no quicker route to humility than getting your ass kicked by opponents you think you should dominate. But who knows how Noesi's going to respond? Who knows what he's learning, if he's learning anything?
What Noesi should learn are the names of his Tacoma teammates, if he hasn't already, because it looks like he's going to be with them for a while. If he doesn't get demoted another level down. We knew that Hector Noesi was a mess, but perhaps we didn't appreciate just how messy of a mess, and as you remember from being a child, a messy room takes a while to pick up. Even if you stuff everything in the closet or under your bed. And doing that is hardly the right solution. Hopefully Noesi doesn't try to shove his problems into the closet or under his bed. Rearranging a mess isn't the same thing as cleaning it.