On Sunday afternoon, thewent up against the , and the Mariners only lost by three runs! After the Rangers took the lead, the Mariners one time brought the go-ahead run to the plate! Of the Mariners' final 11 plate appearances, three of them ended with a ball in play! The Rangers didn't achieve a win expectancy of 100% until after the last out! Even though the Mariners lost, those in attendance were treated to a hell of a ballgame, as the outcome was in question for literally dozens of minutes.
Obviously, in truth this game was a deflating bummer. It was less deflating than the Seahawks game, if you were watching the Seahawks game and rooting for the Seahawks, but those who watched the Seahawks and Mariners back-to-back saw their teams get outscored 27-0 over six hours of play. In two games that would've been great to win, given that the first took place in Pittsburgh, and the second featured Felix Hernandez. One can certainly come to terms with this latest Mariners loss - we've come to terms with all the others - since it improved the Mariners' draft standing and helped to keep the out of the playoffs, but this was Felix's final home start of the year, and he lost 3-0 to Matt Harrison. This is Matt Harrison:
In 2009, Felix won his final home start of the year, against Texas. In 2010, Felix won his final home start of the year, against Texas. In 2011, he lost his final home start of the year, against Texas. And through little fault of his own. I really wish he could've had a better send-off.
When disappointed, I frequently look for comfort in the numbers. Watching this afternoon, I grew curious: has Felix pitched better in front of his court? I figured it was worth the five minutes of data manipulation to find out. The first-ever King's Court came on May 28th, when Felix took on the. He had four home starts before that, and has made 11 home starts after that. This includes his start against the . The splits:
And, for the sake of being complete, his road splits over the same periods of time:
I don't see a whole lot in there to suggest a better performance in front of his own personal, loud cheering section. But then, I don't know what I was hoping for. We're talking about a pre-Court sample of four starts, in April and May. We're talking about a post-Court sample of only 11 starts, taking place during the summer. Even if I'd found something, it wouldn't have been conclusive, and why would I think I might find something in the first place? It's just a cheering section! This was a frivolous and pointless exercise! Felix enjoys his court, but the court isn't for Felix. It's for the participants in the court.
I do love it, though. The King's Court has been one of the highlights of the season, and I can't wait for it to come back in 2012. Good work, everybody.
Oh, right, I write bullet holes about these.
- The line might show that Felix was fine, but short of terrific - he allowed three runs and nine hits through seven innings while striking out five. And indeed, Felix has had better starts before. But that's only because Felix has had some really amazing starts. Today, he was excellent, and he deserved a little better than he got.
He threw better than two-thirds of his pitches for strikes. The home run that Adrian Beltre hit in the fourth came on an 0-2 fastball down and out of the zone. Of the Rangers' other eight hits, seven came on groundballs, with most of them hit pretty soft. Felix didn't spin a flawless game, but he didn't spin a nine-hit game, either.
Alas, the results were the results, and Felix dropped to 0-3 against the Rangers on the season. He's now 10-15 against the Rangers in his career. He'll get one more shot against them next weekend before the year comes to a close. It'd be great to avoid the o'fer.
- Felix and Beltre, as you know, are great friends, and after Beltre hit that ball out, he smiled and playfully gave Felix some shit as he rounded the bases. Nothing happened and all parties moved on. This is unlike what happened last August, when Beltre gave Felix some shit and got ejected by a trigger-happy umpire who didn't understand what was going on. That umpire was Dan Bellino. Today's home plate umpire was Dan Bellino.
When the fuck did this start happening?
- Felix and the Mariners lost 3-0, but this game might have gone very differently (read: much worse) were it not for instant replay. With one on and one out in the top of the third, Ian Kinsler slaughtered a pitch way out to left field, only a few feet foul. It was pretty clearly foul on TV, and it was even more clearly foul on the field, but still the umpires initially ruled that it was a home run. Felix knew it was foul, Trayvon Robinson knew it was foul, and Kinsler knew it was foul, too, but the umpires needed to huddle and go back to the video before getting the call correct. Sometimes I wonder how different baseball history would look if instant replay were always available.
The whole time the umpires were talking to one another, the King's Court was chanting "foul ball!" After Beltre hit his home run to left-center, the King's Court was chanting "foul ball!"
- It was mentioned during the broadcast that team athletic trainer/physical therapist Ken Roll will be retiring after the season. In case you don't know who Ken Roll is, he's the Jack Zduriencik decoy we so often see up on the rail in the dugout:
This is good news for Roll, who soon gets to live a life of leisure, but it's bad news for Zduriencik and the Mariners, as the job just got a lot easier for potential assassins. The team might want to give this guy a call:
- The Mariners went scoreless, but they very nearly picked up a whole run when Mike Carp launched an 0-1 Mike Adams fastball to left field. Josh Hamilton had other ideas:
A few inches more and that's an opposite-field home run. A few inches to the left and that's an opposite-field double. Instead Mike Carp gets credit for an opposite-field out, and Hamilton didn't even injure himself in the process. When Hamilton did this last September he broke two ribs and missed a month. No justice.
- The only Mariners hitter who didn't strike out was
- This will have to be the subject of a longer, more detailed post, but for now to hold you over, Dustin Ackley's strikeout rate by month:
June: 11% (45 PA)
July: 14% (100 PA)
August: 23% (123 PA)
September: 30% (69 PA)
Ackley is still hitting the ball hard pretty consistently when he hits the ball, and today he drove a deep liner to right-center that was run down by David Murphy, but, yeah, the strikeouts. Everybody with the strikeouts. No one's immune.
- After today, Neftali Feliz has pitched against the Mariners 16 times, facing 49 hitters over 15 innings. Those hitters have combined to go 0-for-45 with 20 strikeouts, three walks and a HBP. The hitters to have reached base:
It's funny the way these things can go unnoticed for so long, and then when you notice them, you can't unnotice them. Against the Mariners, Neftali Feliz is creeping up on his second no-hitter.
tomorrow. This make-up game is 100% necessary.