Hello and apologies for the lateness of this recap. I attended this game and then went to Elysian for post game festivities with friends. Lo and behold it was happy hour and on that very same titled menu were mussels, which I ordered.
Do NOT order the happy hour mussels at Elysian. Corporate mussels suck!
Today was about the finishing surge of Felix Hernandez, the Great and Mighty. It's not a revelation that Felix has not been at his best this season. Compared to the fantastically consistent standards of 2009-2014 he has been downright ordinary. Felix has seemed, for the first time really, to show the wear on his tread this year. He has stumbled through seeming leg injuries, his strike rate is down, his walk rate is up, as is his home run rate. For we who have grown accustomed to Felix as our oasis it has been difficult. We have been Linus without his security blanket.
Yet tonight was largely the binky back in the mouth. Yes Felix still walked 4, continuing a disconcerting and largely season long trend. But everything else was present. The King was nasty. Topping out at 95 MPH with the Royal Curve and the Change De Muerta it was a day like so many in the past, and so few in the recent past. Over 8 innings Felix was every bit, or at least 90% of that bit, of what we have grown so dependent on over the past decade. The time will come where we don't get this anymore, probably sooner than we'd like. But it wasn't today.
Fun note is that Felix is now at 3.0 fWAR on the year, despite his seeming off year. Even more amazing is that Felix, still only 29, is now at 50 fWAR. For comparison Jamie Moyer finished his career at 48.2, Justin Verlander is at 46.2, Cliff Lee is at 47.4, and Bartolo Colon is at 47.8. If Felix pitches another 10 years near his below average (for him) level he will approach 80 fWAR and cement himself as a inner circle hall-of-famer. I demand you appreciate him more.
Speaking of appreciating the Mariners used to have a pretty good hitter named Alex Rodriguez. In 2000, his last year as a Mariner, Rodriguez smacked 41 home runs. No Mariner since has topped the 40 home run mark. Until today:
In 2000 the MLB average slugging was .437. In 2015 it is .404. Nelson Cruz has done what Richie Sexson, Adrian Beltre, Edgar Martinez, Bret Boone, Raul Ibanez and many, many others could not. He has topped 40 home runs, and he's done it in one of the most difficult run environments of this era. Hats off Nelson. You were supposed to be Jack Zduriencik's grandest failure. Instead, you are his last, and possibly finest success.
Next the Mariners start a 3 game series with Colorado. There is plenty of reason to hope the Mariners fail down the stretch, primarily to garner a protected top 10 draft pick. I won't tell you how to feel or what to root for. I'll just keep enjoying Felix and Nelson. It beats losing.
Now, back to those corporate mussels.