King Felix, Meet Young Prince Luis; or, The Pitching Duel Nobody Saw

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Friday, July 21, 2017.

In the baseball wasteland that is Seattle, where ESPN seldom ventures, last night’s most compelling game took place.  King Felix Hernandez of the Mariners faced Luis Severino who has come into his own this year after a dreadful 2016.  King Felix was on his mettle last night, as opposed to the poor performances he has given for most of this injury-ravaged season.  So the king and the young prince dueled it out, mano a mano, pitch for pitch. The final, Yankees 4 over Mariners 1 doesn’t reflect King Felix’ ability since most of the runs scored after he left.

This game deserved national TV exposure and a full house of roaring fans.  But Seattle isn’t a baseball city and has never been one, as Jim Bouton made clear after languishing for most of the 1969 season with the Pilots-Seattle’s original franchise. So, only the die-hard Yankee fans watching on TV or listening on the Internet witnessed what happened last night at Safeco Field which was only 3/4 full and that’s the announced crowd.  Close to 13,000 could have and should have been there for this matchup.  The game went scoreless through 5.  Brett Gardner hit a home run in the 6th, the only run Hernandez would give up.  He allowed but 3 hits and struck 9 Yankees out.  The king was the wrong man for Aaron Judge to try and end his post-home-run-derby slump against. Understandably he struck out twice, playing Luke Skywalker to Darth Vader in “The Empire Strikes Back.”  The Judge was able to single home a run in the 8th inning off Tony Zych.  Two more Yankees crossed the plate in unearned fashion in the 9th building a 4-0 lead.  Ex-Yankee Robinson Cano drove in the Mariners’ only tally and that was in the 9th inning after Severino had left the hill. Though his record is but 6-4 he has been the equal of two of the game’s best-Chris Sale of the Red Sox last week and Hernandez last night.

Today’s earliest game is a matinee at Wrigley Field starting at 2:20 PM. The Cardinals, who lost to the Mets in walk-off fashion in a  matinee yesterday play another today.  Their best, Carlos Martinez starts against the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta who should be their best but isn’t performing up to that level. Leaving that game out, the rest are under the lights. After being swept by the Pirates, the Brewers hope to get well in Philadelphia which a lot of teams have done over the past few years. They’re pinning their hopes on Matt Garza against the Phillies’ Aaron Nola.

Please stand by for a later edition with the rest of today’s spotlight games.

 

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