Seattle Mariners (66-55) at Detroit Tigers (65-55)
Time/Place: 7:08 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation blog: Lookout Landing
Pitching Matchup: RHP Felix Hernandez (13-3, 1.95 ERA) vs. LHP David Price (11-8, 3.21 ERA)
The mantra for opposing hitters against Felix Hernandez this season seems to be "just don't even try." If not, it should be. Hernandez has been so unbelievably dominant that team beat writers have already named a stat after him. King Felix is currently working on a run of 16 consecutive outings with at least seven innings pitched and two (or fewer) runs allowed. The last time he failed to pitch into the seventh inning was on May 2nd. During his 16 game streak, Hernandez has a 1.41 ERA with 134 strikeouts to 20 walks in 121 innings. If it sounds unfair for opposing batters, it's because it is.
Even Hernandez's season-long numbers are astounding. His 1.95 ERA is the fourth-best by a qualified American League starter since the beginning of the designated hitter era, and the best since Pedro Martinez in 2000. Hernandez's 2.07 FIP is second on the list, behind Pedro's ridiculous 1999 season. Hernandez drops to 11th if we use a statistic like ERA- that helps standardize for run scoring environments, but the point is the same: we're comparing King Felix's 2014 season to Pedro Martinez's best years.
Thankfully, the Tigers have a pretty good starter of their own taking the mound tonight. David Price struggled to be his usual efficient self in his last start, throwing 112 pitches in six-plus innings. He only gave up a pair of runs through the first six, but left the game after allowing a couple of baserunners in the seventh. Naturally, the Tigers bullpen allowed those runners to score, giving Price a final line of four earned runs in six innings. Price allowed three walks in that start, the fourth time he has done so since June 20th. Though it sounds bad for someone with his command, his walk rate during that stretch is still under two batters per nine innings.
Hitter to fear: No one
Hitter to fail: Everyone
As you might expect, King Felix has some very good numbers against the Tigers. In 13 career starts, he is 9-2 with a 2.51 ERA. Tigers batters are hitting .233/.296/.289 against him with just two home runs. While neither of them belong to Miguel Cabrera, the MVP is 10 for 24 with a pair of doubles against the 2014 Cy Young winner. Ian Kinsler has walked 11 times in 91 plate appearances against Hernandez, which is just weird.
On the other side, Price has had a similar degree of success against the Mariners. He only has three career starts against Seattle, but is holding them to a 3.00 ERA and a .515 OPS. He also has 29 strikeouts to two walks in 24 innings. Robinson Cano has a respectable .725 OPS in 69 plate appearances against the Tigers' lefty, while Austin Jackson has 10 strikeouts in 17 plate appearances.
Good luck, hitters. You're going to need it.
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