April 3, 2007


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

Torre's careful with his starters, though he did allow the Big Eunuch to throw well over 100 pitches 2 years in a start and it took rj a few weeks to recover.

It's the middle relief corps that he can't be trusted with. Either that or he believes, correctly, that adequate middle relievers are easy to come by.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 3, 2007 8:56 AM

Sure, just ask Ching Ming Busted Wing

Posted by: oj at April 3, 2007 9:27 AM

You know something about Wang's arm that no one else knows?

And I recall only 1 instance in 2 years of Wang throwing more than 100 pitches. He gets so many double-plays, that even when he goes 8 innings he's only in the 80s in pitch count, which is why innings-pitched isn't the best metric to use on him.

But then so many people have been predicting his demise for 2 year now . . . last year the common wisdom that he was lucky, he didn't strike out enough men, his babip was abnormally low, but whadyaknow, his babip went up significantly, but he pitched even more effectively.

Meanwhile, Schilling is fat, and his fastball yesterday looked like a meatball off of one of the heroes he has apparently been overcomsuming this often.

Maybe you can get the Fatman to get on your morning walk routine, oj?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 3, 2007 9:57 AM

No, I know what everyone knows, sinkerballers with k-rates that low are short-lived. May as well ride him, it's Hughes you have to protect.

Posted by: oj at April 3, 2007 12:39 PM