Tag Archives: Felix Hernandez

Mariners’ Attendance Increase Highest in MLB

seattle mariners attendance

Mariners’ Attendance Shows Fans Care About Team Again

Over the course of the season, no other team increased their attendance over last season like the Mariners. 25,485 came to the park on average in 2014. That’s a 17% increase over last year. It still only ranks 23rd among the 30 MLB teams home attendance figures but it’s a large leap in the right direction.

It’s absolutely no secret in Seattle, and probably around all of baseball that Mariner fans had lost a lot of respect for their team. A decade of constant losing and a front office that showed zero interest of fielding a competitive team would do that to any cities fan base. That is, until now.

This remarkable 2014 season just came to a dramatic, and disappointing conclusion, with a win nonetheless. The Texas Rangers and their fans became our friends for the final week, yet they were unable to defeat the Oakland Athletics in game 162 of the regular season. So, again, the Mariners will be out of the playoffs.

There is reason to celebrate. The final win of the season was witnessed by over 40,000 strong at Safeco Field. Now you might think that was only because it was the finale of the season, or because Felix Hernandez was pitching. And both of those were obviously factors. But the jump in victories, 16 more than in 2013, is the real reason Seattle fans are flocking back to the ballpark.

If the winning continues into next season, maybe the Mariners’ attendance will approach their record of over 3,500,000 fans coming to Safeco in 2002 – just one year after the club won 116 regular season games.

Guys like Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, and Hernandez deserve to play in front of sold out home crowds. Plus young guys such as James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, and the possibility of seeing the rest of the top Mariners draft picks should add even more of a reason for fans to come out and eat some garlic fries next season.

Felix Hernandez’s 2014 Emotional Exit (Video)

felix hernandez 2014 final game

The King, Felix Hernandez Walks Off Nearly in Tears

It is quite possible that no other athlete has shown the dedication and loyalty to the city of Seattle and their franchise as Felix Hernandez has.

With losing seasons piling up in the Pacific Northwest, Hernandez has never wavered in his desire to remain a Seattle Mariner. Even though the New York Yankees and nearly every other team in baseball have made it clear they are interested in taking one of the greatest pitchers in the game away from us, King Felix has decided to stay.

With the 2014 season came a new and unknown experience for many Mariners fans as well as our ace. In the final game, the Mariners had a chance to play for a playoff spot. Of course, the top pitcher in the American League would take the mound for Seattle in a must win game against the Angels. The Mariners would go on to win the game, however, the Athletics would also win – giving them the one game edge and send them to face the Royals in a one-game wild card playoff.

Felix pitched the way Felix always pitches. Brilliantly. After earning one out in the 6th inning, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon pulled the starter to a standing ovation that we haven’t seen in a long time.

This season proves that winning is possible with this club. The fans are eager and demand it. The management senses that and will be forced to put in the effort this offseason to take the next step in the highly competitive American League West Division.

I’m sure looking forward to next season and what Felix and the rest of the almost 2014 playoff team Seattle Mariners can do.

Felix Hernandez Perfect Game Anniversary

felix hernandez perfect game

felix hernandez perfect game

One year ago, yesterday, the Mariners Felix Hernandez threw the first, and thus far only perfect game in Mariners history. At the time, it was 35 years and counting without a perfect game for the good guys.

Others had thrown no-hitters before. Randy Johnson was the first in 1990 against the Tigers. Three years later Chris Bosio would do the same vs the Red Sox. Last season, just two months before Felix’s gem, Kevin Millwood and five Mariner relievers combined to throw the third no-hitter for the organization. 

That August 15th, Felix threw the 23rd perfect game in MLB history and the first for the Mariners against the Tampa Bay Rays, winning 1-0.

After the game and after being soaked multiple times by Gatorade showers, Felix held his post game interview and said something that made Mariners fans man-crushes even stronger. “This one’s for you guys!” A crowd of 22,000 lucky fans got to witness what is now the most incredible pitching performance in the teams history. That day, Felix Hernandez passed Randy Johnson as the greatest Mariners pitcher in many people’s opinions.

More: Seattle Metropolitans Uniform and Logo Concepts

In Johnson’s ten years with the M’s he went 130-74 with a 3.42 ERA.

Felix has pitched nine seasons in the Majors, all with the Mariners and has compiled a record of 110-81  to go with his impressive 3.13 ERA.

Add in the projected 14 wins per season that Felix is on, combine that with the wins he’ll still gain this season and the win total will be very similar. The ERA, even tough it is a slightly outdated statistic does still tell a story. Removing the win percentage shows that Felix has in fact been the better Mariner pitcher. 

What Felix has working against him is his run support. Johnson had the benefit of a stacked lineup that included guys like Ken Griffey Jr, Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez. The teams of the 90’s constantly put 5+ runs on the scoreboard in the Kingdome. 

Since Felix has been a Mariner, scoring 5 or more runs in a game is cause for celebration and amazement. Had Felix pitched behind the same lineup as Johnson, his career numbers would be even more impressive. Adding the the lore of King Felix is that he’ll likely finish his career as a Mariner. Randy Johnson, no matter how much he did for the club, turned his back. Johnson won’t be wearing a Mariners cap when he’s inducted into Cooperstown. 

Felix Hernandez signed his enormous contract extension almost guaranteeing he’ll be forever remembered as a Seattle Mariner.

The perfect game is only a bullet point on his résumé, proving he’s the best Mariners pitcher of all-time. 


Randy Johnson or Felix Hernandez


The Mariners have made the World Series for the first time in their existence.

It’s game seven and you’re the manager.

Both of your star pitchers are fresh…

Which in-their-prime ace do you give the ball to in the most important game in the franchises history?

Randy Johnson or Felix Hernandez?


Mariner Pitching and 1-1 Counts

felix hernandez

The 1-1 count is the most important count in baseball. So far in 2013, MLB hitters have a .684 OPS after a 1-1 count. If the next pitch is a strike, and it is a 1-2 count, hitters have an average OPS of .505 OPS. If the 1-1 pitch is a ball, giving the hitter a 2-1 count, MLB hitters have a .802 OPS on average. Teams have based much of their pitching and catching philosophy on getting from the 1-1 count to the 1-2 count. This is a Seattle site, so I was interested in how the Mariners’ starting rotation pitched with the 1-1 count, both from a point of whether or not they are being effective in those counts and to get an idea of which pitches they rely on more in important counts. So using pitch selection (MLBAM tags) and average locations, I took a look at what pitches they throw and where they locate them when in a 1-1 count.

I broke down the graphs by platoon of batter faced because obviously pitchers are going to pitch much different when it comes to platoon, and it may help us get a look at why some pitchers have platoon splits, while some don’t. I included Brandon Maurer instead of Jeremy Bonderman because Maurer has more pitches and is frankly more interesting when it comes to the future. I also have a feeling that Bonderman won’t be on the Mariners much longer. After each pitchers’ name, I put their 2013 (I am only looking at 2013 data in this post) OPS after 1-1 count (per Baseball Reference) so we can get an idea whether or not they are good in those situations (the OPS’ are not park adjusted, so we should proceed with some caution, along with typical small sample and DIPs concerns. Perhaps the best way to view the data is that Felix and Iwakuma are most likely doing something right in these situations if 1-1 counts are important since their overall numbers are good, while Maurer was most likely doing something wrong).

Hisashi Iwakuma: .540 OPS

Against left-handed batters:

Hisashi Iwakuma LHB

Everything is rightly kept away from lefties by Iwakuma, He throws a lot of sliders, but they barely catch the zone and are kept extremely arm side, quite odd for a slider. Down and away is the basic approach, with a lot of fastballs and splitters, against lefties in 1-1 counts.

Against right-handed batters:

Hisashi Iwakuma RHB

Iwakuma works both sides of the plate about equally against righties with 1-1 counts (which, as we will see, is unusual), going to the slider (that now gets glove side, though not as extreme as most pitchers’ sliders) a lot more, and the splitter a lot less (but is more likely to be thrown in the strike zone and is thrown glove side).

Felix Hernandez: .679 OPS

Against left-handed batters

Felix Hernandez LHB

Just like Iwakuma, Felix keeps the ball low and away from lefties, going to a lot of fastballs/sinkers, and curveballs.

Against right-handed batters:

Felix Hernandez RHB

The slider goes to a more traditional place, and he throws more sinkers than fastballs (if MLBAM tags are to be believed). He keeps throwing the changeup, and it stays arm side. It is tough to argue with anything King Felix does, but this is dangerous. The curveball also stays arm side.

Joe Saunders: .768 OPS

Against left-handed batters:

Joe Saunders LHB

Hard in, soft away for Saunders against fellow lefties.

Against right-handed batters:

Joe Saunders RHB

Saunders doesn’t really throw the 4-seamer in 1-1 counts to lefties, and he doesn’t really throw it for a strike to righties. Occasionally he throws a dangerous slider, but he is mostly changeup happy, staying low and away.

Aaron Harang .585 OPS

Against left-handed batters

Aaron Harang LHB

Harang will throw the 4-seamer in, and in previous posts, I have noted that it is much more effective than the 2-seamer away. He has really been unable to get the changeup down.

Against right-handed batters

Aaron Harang RHB

I think you have to admire Harang’s ability to keep the ball away, even if it hasn’t translated into a good home run rate this season. Harang totally ditches the changeup and locates the 2-seamer glove side like the 4-seamer (the FT is below the FF, which is why it appears to be missing). A lot of sliders and curveballs in 1-1 counts in good locations.

Brandon Maurer: .921 OPS

Against left-handed batters:

Brandon Maurer LHB

Maurer really struggled against lefties, and the slider usage seems to be the main culprit. He did work it arm side on average but it stayed too high, and it is after all, a slider, a pitch meant for when the pitcher has the platoon advantage. He did throw the changeup frequently, and it seemed to be located well, even though it wasn’t successful. He failed to get the curveball down and probably should have thrown more fastballs.

Against right-handed batters

Brandon Maurer RHB

Against righties, Maurer threw the ball away pretty well, though his fastballs did stay more arm side than you would want. He also couldn’t get the curveball down.

Masterson’s 11 K’s Help Indians Beat Mariners 6-0

Indians beat Mariners

Indians beat Mariners

CLEVELAND —  The Indians are facing the major leagues  “Ace” pitchers and beating them into submission.

Justin Masterson struck out a season-high eleven in seven dominating shutout innings and Michael Brantley hit a three-run home run and drove in four runs against the King, Felix Hernandez as Cleveland destroyed yet another big league bully on the mound Sunday with a 6-0 win over the Seattle Mariners.

Brantley went yard in the second inning off Hernandez (5-3), who did not last six innings on the mound for the first time this season.

The Indians, who improved to 17-4 since April 28, are showing that they have a knack for punishing the big ticket pitchers. They’ve taken down Hernandez, R.A. Dickey, David Price, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Bartolo Colon and Justin Verlander.

Masterson (7-2) was masterful for the second straight start. He only gave up three singles, and took his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 19. He shut out the New York Yankees 1-0 on four hits in his last start.

The AL Central-leading Indians have won more games than any team in the majors since April 20th at 20-7.

Cleveland jumped all over the M’s early, building a 5-0 lead after two innings against Hernandez.

Hernandez left his previous start after six innings with back stiffness, and  came into Sundays game with the league’s lowest ERA (1.53) but it climbed to 2.07 after he allowed six runs and eight hits in five innings. Hernandez struck out eight, including the final three batters, but his game was off – and so was the rest of the Mariners.

The Mariners made several mental mistakes that helped the Indians, but were only charged with one error.

Masterson however did not need much help.The dominant righty overpowered the Mariners all day. The M’s couldn’t catch up to his 97 mph fastball and only had two runners reach second base against him.

Pitching with a six-run lead, it seemed as the game progressed so did his dominance. He whiffed five of the last six batters he faced and seven in the last three innings.

Brantley’s three-run bomb with two outs in the second gave the Indians a 5-0 lead over Hernandez.

Hernandez needed 35 pitches to get through the first inning, he managed to retire the first two batters on groundouts before Michael Bourn singled and went to third on Jason Kipnis’ base hit to center. Brantley then touched off on an 0-1 pitch into the Indians’ bullpen in center for his second home run of the season.

This was an unexpected performance against Hernandez, who came in having allowed just four earned runs in 44 innings over his past six starts.

A fundamental mistake by Hernandez allowed the Indians to add a run in the fourth. With Mike Aviles at second after a double, Drew Stubbs burned a ball into the dirt that catcher Jesus Montero grabbed in front of the plate and threw to first for the out. Aviles kept coming around third and scored easily because Montero got caught up the 45 foot line and Hernandez failed to cover home.

Felix Leaves Early Yankees Capitilize

Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson

NEW YORK — The Yankees fielded a deeper team on Tuesday than they did on Monday, and they showed the old tell tail signs of a veteran team. New York was witness to the return of Curtis Granderson back into the lineup against Seattle also on Tuesday, and then prepared itself for the King, Felix Hernandez.

Hernandez was his usual commanding self and kept the Yankees in check until he left with a two-run lead after six innings, and the Yankees made an opportunistic seventh-inning rally to earn a 4-3 victory over the Mariners.

New York (25-14) mustered only three hits in the first five innings and went into the seventh trailing the M’s by a 3-1 margin. Robinson Cano had the hit of the game, a two-run double to the gap in right-center field, and he later ran across the plate for the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly by Lyle Overbay.

How is Hisashi Iwakuma Missing Bats?

The Mariners, up until that point, had owned the game’s momentum. Seattle used an error and a Kyle Seager double to score the game’s first run in the third inning. Three innings later, Raul Ibanez teed off a two-run homer down the right-field line to give Seattle (18-21) a three-run lead.

That lead appeared to be insurmountable, given the fact that Hernandez was in a zone. Hernandez came into Tuesday’s game with a 4-0 record and a 0.71 ERA in his last five starts. But after Tuesday’s no-decision, the right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.18 ERA in his career at the new Yankee Stadium.

Hernandez was involved in a bizarre obstruction play at first base in the fourth inning, and he was battling some back issues in the 6th. Seattle’s coaching staff made a mound visit to make sure the right-hander was good to pitch, and Hernandez trudged on to complete the inning. Overbay touched off on Hernandez for a run-scoring double, but the King ended the threat by forcing a flyout from Ichiro Suzuki.

CC Sabathia struck out 10 and pitched into the seventh for the Yankees, this helped keep the game close enough for the Yankee bats to win it. Sabathia allowed both the Seager double and the Ibanez homer, and before Tuesday night, the hefty hurler had held lefties to a .166 average (5-for-30) with no extra-base hits.

Rookie reliever Yoervis Medina got the call to start the seventh and served up a leadoff hit to Chris Nelson, he also advanced the runner on a wild pitch before striking out Austin Romine. Charlie Furbush relieved Medina and walked Brett Gardner before Cano tied the game with a double.

David Robertson dodged some trouble with a scoreless top of the eighth inning, and Mariano Rivera recorded his 16th save in as many opportunities.

Hisashi Iwakuma goes tomorrow against the Yankee’s Phil Hughes. Felix, Iwakuma and Joe Saunders (at home) have been absolutely lights-out thus far this season.

How Well Are Mariner Starters Repeating Their Deliveries?

Blake Beavan Mariners

Blake Beavan Mariners

Through 5 games, one whole turn through the rotation, the Mariner starters have walked just 5 batters, 4 of them by Joe Saunders. In this post, I wanted to look at how well the starters were repeating their deliveries. We usually use at release point charts to get a general sense, especially by looking for stray marks or how big the general area is, but in this post I will use numbers so we will be able to compare a little better. Basically what I did was copy the tabular data from each start from Brooks Baseball and had Excel calculate the standard deviation of the horizontal and vertical release points for each pitcher’s start. This means that the lower the number, the better (for a little more context, read here).

Felix’s opening day start:

Horizontal: .188

Vertical: .148

Hisashi Iwakuma’s first 2013 start:

Horizontal: .108

Vertical: .138

Joe Saunders’ first start as a Mariner:

Horizontal: .245

Vertical: .152

Blake Beavan’s start against the White Sox on Friday

Horizontal: .286

Vertical: .204

Brandon Maurer’s first big league start:

Horizontal: .205

Vertical: .165

So we see, through one turn of the rotation, Iwakuma has the most consistent release point (meaning he is “repeating his delivery” the best), while Blake Beavan’s seems to be the worst. This is a little surprising to me (though not if you look at the chart of the game), as Beavan usually exhibits good control, if nothing else. We have seen that Beavan has a somewhat new delivery. It got me thinking, is he having a harder problem repeating this new delivery? So let’s look at his last 5 starts of 2012, and break down the standard deviation per each game, then on a whole.


Horizontal: .333

Vertical: .16


Horizontal: .32

Vertical: .181


Horizontal: .292

Vertical: .234


Horizontal: .296

Vertical: .216


Horizontal: .335

Vertical: .13


Horizontal: .335

Vertical: .256

It would seem, at least if we are looking at this data correctly, that Beavan was actually better at repeating his delivery in his first 2013 start with the somewhat new delivery than he was at repeating his delivery at the end of last year. Again, this is surprising information because Beavan has been a control guy who has stayed pretty healthy, so we wouldn’t really expect inconsistencies.

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