The Seattle Mariners needed a strong outing from Felix Hernandez on Wednesday to avoid being swept in a two-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and that is exactly what they got. After an average outing from fifth starter Aaron Harang, it was refreshing to see Hernandez dominate an aggressive Pirates lineup in a 2-1 win.
After allowing a run on an Andrew McCutchen single in the first inning, Hernandez shut down the Pirates for the remainder of the game. In total, “King Felix” went eight innings, allowing only the one run and struck out five hitters on 97 pitches before lifted in favor of closer Tom Wilhlemsen for the ninth inning.
Hernandez had to battle against A.J. Burnett, who brought his best stuff to the table. While he did not have his best stuff, Hernandez was able to earn the victory.
“I knew it was going to be hard, because Burnett was nasty. And after the first, I just had to get my command back and try and throw strikes, and that’s what I did through the course of the game.” Hernandez told Mariners.com after the earning his fifth victory of the year.
“If you don’t have your best stuff, you’ve got to go out there and fight and find different ways to get people out.”
If you needed something else besides his 2010 AL Cy Young award and his perfect game last year to prove that Hernandez is an elite pitcher, just look at his last five starts. He has allowed a mere three earned runs in 38 innings pitched and totaled 40 strikeouts over that stretch.
After another solid outing, Hernandez currently has a 1.53 ERA, good for the best mark in the American League. It is safe to say that Hernandez is truly an elite pitcher and will be in contention to win yet another Cy Young award this season.