Welcome to the final stretch for months where we can confidently feel as though the Mariners should win every game. Although Felix is using a bit of magic pixie dust as opposed to his traditional blowtorch of talent to produce his 2.21 ERA, the Twins have scored the fewest runs in the American League.
In an article published at The News Tribune today, Bob Dutton revealed that, after opening the season at a disconcerting level of fastball velocity, Felix has resumed throwing bullpens between starts, and has seen his velocity tick up 1-2 MPH over his past few starts. It's a small, but significant number, and one we should definitely monitor going forward. As the article discusses, and as we've known for years, Felix is going to have to master a way to dominate without elite velocity. His stuff is still good enough to do so, when it's commanded well. Also, quit worrying about stadium radar guns Felix. We love you, and know you're proud. Let this one go.
Felix's counterpart for the Twins this evening is left-hander Phil Dean, a twenty-seven year old (two days ago. happy belated, Pat.) left-hander out of Boston College. Dean is making just his second career start. Although running a 19.7 K% in his very short time in MLB, Pat is a upper 80's fastball/slider/changeup guy with a K% in the low teens in MiLB. It's not too different from a left-handed version of what poor Zach Neal threw at this team on Wednesday, when the Mariners scored thirteen runs.
I already mentioned that the Twins have scored the fewest runs in the AL, but I should also add they have allowed the most runs in the AL. Their run differential of -81 is better only than the Cincinnati Reds, and the Reds have the disadvantage of having already played the big, bad, Mariners.
It's a game where 538's game odds giving the Mariners a 66% chance of winning feels low, even as it's very high. The Mariners are good, perhaps on their way to great, and the Twins are abysmal. Anything can happen in a baseball game, and so I wouldn't be shocked to see them lose this game in truly annoying fashion. However, I fully expect another complete, dominant performance from the team that's rapidly reeducating on what fun, winning baseball is like.
Happy Felix Day, goms, gobiz, and sunshine and lollipops to each and everyone of you. Happy three day weekend.
|MINNESOTA TWINS||SEATTLE MARINERS|
|Eduardo Nunez - SS||Norichika Aoki - CF|
|Brian Dozier - 2B||Franklin Gutierrez - RF|
|Joe Mauer - 1B||Robinson Cano - 2B|
|Miguel Sano - RF||Nelson Cruz - DH|
|Trevor Plouffe - 3B||Dae-Ho Lee - 1B|
|Robbie Grossman - LF||Kyle Seager - 3B|
|Byung-ho Park - DH||Chris Iannetta - C|
|Kurt Suzuki - C||Stefen Romero - LF|
|Danny Santana - CF||Luis Sardinas - SS|
|Pat Dean - LHP||Felix Hernandez - RHP|
- Twins @ Mariners, 7:10 PM PDT, Safeco Field
- TV: ROOT, Radio: 710 ESPN, Online: MLB.TV