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Tater of the Week: Teoscar Hernández made us wait

He’s heeeerrrrreeeeee

MLB: Seattle Mariners at New York Yankees Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Beatles’ “Hello, Goodbye” was a bigger hit than it deserved. It reached Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in both the UK and the US, but then, by that point, basically anything the Fab Four touched did. The lyrics—a series of opposite phrases resulting from a game Paul McCartney played with the band’s assistant as Paul hit alternating notes on a harmonium—were a big step backwards for the group, who, after being exposed to Dylan, had finally started taking lyric-writing seriously a couple years earlier.

But the song does have one legitimate stroke of genius. It’s the “ooooh” that Paul sings in falsetto at 2:04. He completes the musical phrase at the end of the chorus vocally for the first time after doing it with the guitar the first two times through at 0:50 and 1:27.

The reason I love that “oooh” so much is that he sets you up to expect it and then does something slightly different than you’re expecting and it’s so much better than what had come before. Macca makes you wait for it, and it’s all the better for it.

So too is baseball a game of patience. For no one has that been more true this season than Teoscar Hernández. The Mariners’ biggest addition of the offseason, he’d run a wRC+ of 132 with a .283/.333/.519 line over the past three seasons. Around these parts, we had pretty high hopes.

Of course, we all know what happened next. On Opening Day, Teo went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts, and then over the next two months, treated us to a 33.8% strikeout rate and an MLB-worst 3.5% walk rate. It didn’t matter what he did when he made contact (which, not for nothing, wasn’t that great), the 85 wRC+ was close to a best-case outcome with that approach.

We worried that we’d seen this film before in Jesse Winker; an outfielder viewed as one of the best hitters in the game comes to Seattle and falls apart before our eyes. But Winker never had a month like the month Teo’s having in June.

Since the calendar flipped to Dads And Grads season, Hernández has put up a 179 wRC+, earning that number with his strikeout rate dropping to 25.3% and his walk rate practically tripling. His eight extra-base hits are the type of thing we were expecting to see. So his return to form makes this 437-foot monster shot your Play of the Week. It put the Mariners up 9-0 and set up Cal Raleigh to go back-to-back. Hello?! Goodbye, baseball.

Last week, I looked at whether Teo’s a streaky player, and it turned out that the answer was no. He has routinely had slow starts to his seasons though, but you say why, and I say I don’t know; the underlying reason is a mystery.

What we do know is that he’s turned a corner. He made us wait for it, and watching him carry the offense for a little while has been all the better for it.

Honorable Mentions

Cal Gets His Plaque

You knew Cal was going to park one onto Eutaw Street at some point in his career. It was only a matter of time. But it doesn’t make watching him actually do it any less special.

Logan Makes an O Say No

I’ll be honest. I was a just a touch worried about Logan after his bad game when they moved up his start a day early. Then he wasn’t that much better his next time out. So it came as some relief on Friday when Logan proved that he’s still got 97, and guys simply don’t know what to do with it when he’s got that kind of velocity. Of course, I’m still partial to his splitter, on display here against the O’s best hitter.

Woo Spins The DJ

Bryan Woo is currently sporting a 33.8% strikeout rate. That would be the highest strikeout rate by a Mariners starter (qualified or not) since ... ever. It’s based on a limited sample of just four starts, but for a guy called up in an emergency, that’ll play.

Julio Keeps the Game Close

It’s hard to believe this was Julio’s first home run robbery, but I’m confident that it won’t be his last. The path isn’t perfectly direct, but he’s pretty good at picking his routes, so I think this was intentional. I think he knew it was going to be right at the wall and he wanted to give himself room to run up the wall parallel to it rather than having to jump backwards. The result was the best catch I’ve ever seen in person.

Eugenio Gives Us Gold

Impossible as it is to believe in a week with Julio’s home run robbery, Eugenio Suárez actually had the best defensive play this week. I’ve been saying it for a while, but I truly think Geno’s will deserves to win a Gold Glove this year. (Stupid Nicky Lopez.)