Tonight the King is back for his first start of the second half and we will try to ascertain which Félix is the real Félix: Is he the vintage ace who was dealing against the free-swinging Athletics with pinpoint command and a filthy change? Or the toothless ex-monarch who surrendered six runs to a red-hot Royals team? My guess is the actual truth of 2017 Félix lies somewhere in between. I would be happy tonight with six innings, three or four runs, a few strikeouts and one or two walks.
Meanwhile, the offense will hopefully show a little more life than they did last night, leaning heavily on a Robinson Canó home run for 3 of their 4 runs against objectively Bad Pitcher James Shields. The White Sox pulled some trickeration with their pitching probables and what was supposed to be a Derek Holland start is now a Mike Pelfrey start. Mike Pelfrey has been decidedly Not Good this year, with a 4.83 ERA/5.31 FIP. Pelfrey has never been the king of limiting walks, but this year he’s walking an especially high 10.5% of all batters. Someone tape Jean Segura’s bat to his shoulder, please. Pelfrey has also been stung by the long ball some this year, with a 13.5% HR/FB rate, and boy this would be a great time for Kyle Seager just to jack that ISO up a little higher, wouldn’t it? Well, not so fast: Pelfrey actually throws a decent curve and an even better splitter, and he throws each of them about 20% of the time. The key will be punishing his below-average fastball/sinker, and laying off any pitch outside the zone. This seems like a good time to point out that Mike Zunino isn’t in the lineup tonight. Chooch speed ahead!
|SEATTLE MARINERS||CHICAGO WHITE SOX|
|Jean Segura - SS||Melky Cabrera - LF|
|Ben Gamel - LF||Avisail Garcia - RF|
|Robinson Cano - 2B||Jose Abreu - 1B|
|Nelson Cruz - DH||Todd Frazier - 3B|
|Kyle Seager - 3B||Tyler Saladino - 2B|
|Danny Valencia - 1B||Matt Davidson - DH|
|Mitch Haniger - RF||Tim Anderson - SS|
|Jarrod Dyson - CF||Kevan Smith - C|
|Carlos Ruiz - C||Adam Engel - CF|
|Felix Hernandez - RHP||Mike Pelfrey - RHP|
4:10 PM PST; on ROOTNW, 710 ESPN, and MLB.tv
Go forth and win this most likely winnable game, you pans of used motor oil.