For much of the game, Felix was all right. He ran into a little trouble in the bottom of the third, but even there it was only a single off the end of the bat that cost him a run, and he was able to lock it down after that. He ended the third with a groundout. He completed the fourth with three groundouts. He completed the fifth with two groundouts and a pop out. He was throwing some balls, and thewere getting some swings, but there wasn't a whole lot of damage being done.
Then the end began to approach. We didn't know if this was the last we'd see of Felix all year. Felix didn't know, either. He couldn't have known. And one got the sense that, if he was to go out, he wanted to go out with a bang. So he did.
- J. Borbon struck out swinging
- E. German struck out swinging
- C. Davis struck out swinging
- D. Murphy popped out to shallow left
Those were possibly the final four at bats of Felix Hernandez's 2010 season. They consisted of three swinging strikeouts and a weak pop-up. Granted, they didn't exactly come against Texas' heavy hitters, but they allowed Felix to walk off the field happy, and they allowed us to avoid a bittersweet conclusion. When I used to run cross country, I always had a little something extra saved up to sprint the final stretch. It seems Felix had the same idea.
There'll be plenty of time to reflect on Felix's incredible season when it's over. Right now, we aren't sure. I don't think the team is sure. Felix certainly wants to come back out on Sunday, given that he's stuck at an obnoxious 249.2 total innings. We'll see what ends up happening. I can understand both sides, and they're almost equally valid.
For now, take heart in the fact that, if Felix is all done, he went out on top. For the 16th time, he went at least eight innings. For the 18th time, he allowed five hits or less. For the 15th time, he allowed one run or less. And for the 13th time, he came away with a win. Nobody wanted to see Felix end it with a stinker. For a minute there in the third, I think we all grew a little worried. Felix put those worries to rest. Felix was terrific. In a game that meant little, against a team that didn't care, what matters is that Felix was terrific, and if this is the stopping point, it was a hell of a way to end.
For neither the first time nor the last time this year - thank you, Felix. You have blossomed into everything I've ever dreamed you would be. As a player I follow in sports, that makes you the magnificent exception.
- If Felix might've gone out on top, Jose Lopez might've gone out on bottom, as he had to leave the game in the bottom of the sixth after a sharp groundball dislocated his right middle finger. We don't know for sure whether that's the end of Lopez's 2010. We also don't know for sure whether that's the end of Lopez's Mariner career. It probably is, but it's not guaranteed.
What is guaranteed is that, if Lopez's season is finished, that was as appropriate a way as any for things to go down. The only thing that would be markedly more appropriate than Jose Lopez's season ending because of an accident with his middle finger is if Jose Lopez's season ended because of an accident with mine.
- We've seen Garrett Olson work the microphone. We've seen Garrett Olson act in a strange segment about a haunted hotel with Doug Fister. And today, we saw Garrett Olson obey the results of an FSN viewer text poll by shaving his beard down to a Hugh Jackman. Garrett Olson continues to show a number of likable qualities, and none of them involve his pitching.
- The wind was blowing out today, and Scott Feldman isn't very good, but Justin Smoak still launched a ball to straightaway center well in excess of 400 feet, and is up to 10-34 over the woefully small sample of nine games since he returned from Tacoma. It's not much, but I'd much rather talk about small sample success than small sample failure. I'm looking at you, every single other young player on the team.