And the Lord said unto nobody in particular, "okay, whatever, they've suffered enough, let them have their false idol back before they all totally flip out." And so it was. And it was good.
Biggest Contribution: Felix Hernandez, +45.1%
Biggest Suckfest: Jose Lopez, -14.0%
Most Important Hit: Ichiro single, +10.4%
Most Important Pitch: Lee double play, +10.8%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): +45.8%
Total Contribution by Hitters: +1.0%
Allow me to bring some numbers to your attention:
Batters faced: 30
Infield flies: 3
Outfield flies: 3
Yeah, that's just about as dominant as one guy can be. It helps that the D'Rays feature an over-aggressive lineup that's generally incapable of taking advantage of pitcher mistakes, but for once, the Felix we got was the Felix we expected, and he was pleasing to watch. I wasn't wild about him going back out there to start the eighth when he was already nearing 100 pitches, but the more rational part of my brain woke up and told me that the hitters and the radar gun would let us know when Felix was running out of gas, and given that he struck out the next two guys he faced without much trouble, he very clearly wasn't. A fantastic start for a fantastic pitcher who's probably salivating at the thought of getting to face another pedestrian offense the next time out. Felix is awake. Tampa Bay doesn't have any idea what kind of nightmare it just unleashed on the rest of the American League.
I'm pressed for time, and tomorrow's a day game anyway, so let's go to the lightning round:
- Even with the spectacular outing, I'm still less than thrilled about Felix's (or Johjima's) pitch selection. I'm not the only one, either. Dave wants more changeups. I want more curveballs. We both want fewer fastballs. The sooner Felix remembers that he has three of the best pitches in baseball, the sooner he stops giving hitters even the slightest shred of hope. When he's off, Felix looks like a two-pitch pitcher who can't locate one of them. There's really no need for that to ever be the case. Even when he's struggling with his command, we've still seen him dominate by using his entire arsenal to keep hitters off balance. I hate seeing him get away from that.
- At one point today, Yuniesky Betancourt had been charged with two errors despite committing zero. One of them wound up getting changed to a single a few innings after the fact, but that only fixes half the problem. Richie Sexson didn't need to pull his foot off the bag on the second play, so that error should be on him.
- Jose Lopez has the most RBI and the second-highest OPS on the team. He's also tied with Jeremy Reed for the most sacrifice bunt attempts. When Mike Hargrove is interviewing for a job somewhere else, I hope he gets skewered for this kind of mindless idiocy.
Hendu, on pitching: "You have to give Waechter a lot of credit, (Everett) hit a home run the last time on an inside fastball but (Waechter) went right back in there."
Me: "Actually, based on recent evidence that seems like pretty much the worst possible place he could put the ball."
- ADRIAN BELTRE IS NOT BACK. He has hit one home run this season. ONE HOME RUN. He's not some hotshot prospect who's trying to get his feet wet and have a little success in the first few months of his Major League career - he's a veteran who got an enormous five-year deal under the assumption that he'd continue performing like an MVP. He is absolutely nowhere close to where he needs to be, and the fact that he's just getting by with a bunch of singles right now only drives that point home even further.
- The Angels aren't very good.