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Félix travels back in time as the M’s top the A’s, 4-0

You get a strikeout, and YOU get a strikeout!

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners
say uh does that machine go back to the 90s too?
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Blink and you’ll miss it, but it is, in fact, no longer 2014. The San Fransisco Giants are the second-worst team in baseball and the Cubs are World Series champs. There were some elections, all over. Star Wars is alright again. You’ve replaced all the food in your fridge, a lot, don’t eat that old stuff STOP IT. Spider-Man is still British, but at least he looks like he’s actually 15 this time around.

That said, an afternoon trip to Safeco may have had you scratching your head over that whole thing. The Mariners’ shot at the second Wild Card spot is—at least on paper—still in play. Robinson Canó is a very good baseball man, and meanwhile the starting rotation is——eds note: censored——. But thankfully, the 32 thousand gathered beneath the midday Seattle sun knew they could at least count on their King for six innings of 2-hit, 6-strikeout ball on their way to the All-Star break.

Wait, what? Yes, Félix walked out there to that only piece of real estate in the stadium which belongs to a single person (for now) and proceeded to do this:

It’s 2017. In April, Felix gave up double-digit hits in multiple games and then sauntered on over to the DL thanks to a faulty ankle hip oh god please not el—shoulder. In his place some #teens and Ariel Miranda joined James Paxton to try and keep the ship afloat, and they even (correctly) started to wonder about the future of the whole King’s Court business, in more than one way. But then today the man just walked out there like it was 2014 and threw some damn baseballs across the plate. Across it, and very close to it, and when he wanted, away from it. His four-seamer reached 92. Bats were missed. And while his changeup sitting down in the ~86MPH range keeps it from being the threat it used to be, tell me where and when you’ve seen things like this before:

In that Seattle Times article about the the King’s Court linked above, Larry Stone quotes from Mel Stottlemyre Jr. about 2017 Félix, and just forget everything I typed because it’s a plate of vegetables:

“It’s not like it’s the way that it used to be where Felix could walk a couple of guys and wipe out the next three hitters,” Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. said Friday, discussing the ongoing evolution of Hernandez. “We all know that’s not there. It’s not going to happen.”


Alright, fine, look, the problem with all this is that you actually do need vegetables to live, and even though I’ve been trying to live my life in disregard to that fact, my thirties have reared their head to make me realize I’m a big dumb idiot instead. Yes, today Félix trotted out there and did most the things that made him one of the best pitchers in baseball during his peak, but it really, truly, is not 2014 any longer. That is what made this whole thing so bizarre: then, in between each pitch you’d take a sip of beer, maybe check your phone, start a conversation. You had a decent idea about what was coming next. Today, it felt like it could all come crashing down to earth between each called strike, ball, foul, then swinging strike for the K. Baseball isn’t necessarily about what happened, it’s about what’s happening.

Still, it’s an encouraging sign as we head into the second half of a season where pretty much anything could happen (even though we probably know just what will). It seems Félix can still theoretically throw a gem from time to time, and the offense is actually here to give him a hand, just, you know, three years late. First it was the in third, when Jarrod Dyson turned a walk into 90 feet from home on a single from Carlos Ruiz. Jean Segura would miss the RBI on his ensuing double play, but Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders would have been standing on third after the whole thing started. Robbie doubled to lead off the fourth inning, but this time Nelson Cruz was actually there, hitting a baseball 402 feet away and plating both of them in the process. Your backup catcher ended the day with 3 hits and an RBI, but this time he’s pushing 40. I suppose the only true thing this day has in common with its 2014 counterpart is that Jack Zduriencik didn’t spend it worried about getting that call from the boss.

It’s 43-47 at the break. They don’t quite have the same winds of luck behind their back they had three years ago, but they’ve got something back there, sweeping them forwards or backwards, sideways or up. It ended then with a heartbreaker. The only thing we know now is that this one will, eventually, end.