April 3, 2007
ALL HAIL THE KING!:
Hernandez's performance Randy Johnson-worthy (Steve Kelley, 4/03/07, Seattle Times)
Early in spring training, on one of his first visits with Felix Hernandez, Mariners bench coach John McLaren issued a challenge that sounded more like the ultimate compliment.
"You can be the best pitcher ever to come out of Venezuela," McLaren told the 20-year-old wunderkind. "Better than [Johan] Santana. Better than [Carlos] Zambrano."
On an opening day that felt different, more important, more memorable than most, Hernandez pitched as well as any pitcher in the big leagues, any pitcher on the planet.
He pitched as well as any Mariners pitcher since Randy Johnson. Pitched well enough to make you want to study the Mariners' schedule and circle every fifth day, knowing those are the can't-miss days that Hernandez is pitching.
"That was like a Sandy Koufax performance there," McLaren said. "He was unhittable. That was spectacular. For such a young age, to have that much ability and to be in control out there, it tells you what kind of story we're in for here. We're in for great things."
They just let the youngest opening day starter since Doc Gooden throw 111 pitches first time out of the gates. Trusting his arm to a manager who has to win this year is a mistake of epic proportions. By contrast, Brian Cashman is wisely hiding Phil Hughes from Joe Torre. Posted by Orrin Judd at April 3, 2007 6:41 AM