Last night I wrote a long recap, and at the end of the long recap, I noted that tonight's game is less compelling than yesterday's. Yesterday's game featured the debut of Yu Darvish. Tonight's game is just Blake Beavan and the against Neftali Feliz and the . Nothing special.
But it is something special, and not just for Blake Beavan's parents. I've talked about this before but for some reason it slipped my mind:
Hard to believe, but #Mariners 0-for-48 w/4BB and 21K vs. Neftali Felix, former Rangers closer who starts against them tonight.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) April 10, 2012
The Mariners have faced Neftali Feliz 17 times, each time with Feliz as a reliever. The Mariners have yet to record a single hit. The Mariners have hit .207 against Mariano Rivera for his career. The Mariners have hit .185 against Jonathan Papelbon for his career. I don't know why I went with those two examples, but what's done is done. The Mariners have hit .000 against Neftali Feliz, with a .000 slugging percentage. But at least they have a nifty .094 OBP. The isolated patience is all right.
Maybe when you see 0-for-48, it doesn't quite register. That isn't a lot of at-bats, right? It's all a small sample, right? It is a small sample. But a no-hitter means a pitcher made the opponent go 0-for-27. Against the Mariners, Neftali Feliz has effectively thrown one no-hitter, and then seven-ninths of a second one.
It's nuts. It's a fluke, but it's nuts. The Mariners were 0-for-3 against Feliz in 2009, 0-for-17 against Feliz in 2010, and 0-for-28 against Feliz in 2011. He's thrown 16 innings, and a total of 211 pitches. Of those 211 pitches, 44 have generated swinging strikes. Against the Mariners, Feliz has a career 20.9% swinging strike rate. Against everyone else, Feliz has a career 10.6% swinging strike rate.
We've established that the Mariners have struggled to make contact against Feliz. On contact, unsurprisingly, they've struggled to hit the ball hard. They have eight grounders, 16 flies, and three line drives. Those line drives were hit by Casey Kotchman, Franklin Gutierrez, and Adam Kennedy. Kennedy's was foul. Gutierrez's is listed as a fliner, which is in between a liner and a fly. Kotchman's is also listed as a fliner. These are our legends.
Out of the bullpen, Neftali Feliz has dominated the Mariners like few others. Tonight will bring the Mariners their first exposure against Feliz as a starter. Something's going to have to give. Either some Mariner will finally come up with the first hit against Feliz in franchise history, or Feliz and all the Rangers fans will have a night to remember. Or Feliz will get injured and have to come out. That would also be a night to remember, unfondly.
For the record, there is one player on the Mariners' roster who has a hit against Feliz: John Jaso, who's 1-for-1 with a single and a hit-by-pitch. And an RBI! Jaso is the hero, around whom the Mariners will crowd as they search for advice. I guess that would finally give Jaso something to do. Damned freeloader.
So, in conclusion: something to watch for. We've seen a lot of Neftali Feliz, you and I. We have yet to experience the thrill of somebody getting a hit against him. Unless you count spring training, where the Mariners have a bunch of hits against him. But now who's a fun-ruiner?