The Seattle Mariners knew coming into the 2013 MLB season that any of the success they would have would likely be spawned from the top of their starting rotation. With Felix Hernandez and the emerging Hisashi Iwakuma taking up the roles of their no. 1 and 2 starters, the Mariners knew they could likely count on being in games when those two players were on the hill.
Towards the end of May, though, King Felix looked to be struggling and, for once, it wasn’t because he wasn’t getting run support.
In two starts on May 19 and 25, Hernandez pitched 10.2 innings and allowed 10 earned runs on 19 hits and three walks, both starts ending with him taking a loss. Needless to say, that’s not the dominant performance Seattle needs from Hernandez.
On Saturday night against the Oakland Athletics, though, Hernandez pitched a gem, lasting seven innings and giving up no runs on five hits and one walk. He looked like the King once again. Saturday night was also the fourth consecutive start where Hernandez has looked great, proving that nothing seems to be wrong at all.
Other than an outing on June 4 where he allowed four runs on six hits in 7.1 innings, Hernandez has been lights-out over his last four starts. In the other three starts over that span, He has pitched 22 innings and allowed just two runs on only 13 hits and six walks. Even in that one mediocre start, Hernandez has been going deep into games and giving the Mariners a shot at grabbing wins.
Iwakuma has been one of the biggest surprises in the league this season and doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of slowing up. If Hernandez can continue to be the force that most people expect him to be for the rest of the season, the Mariners are going to be a much more dangerous team than people expected coming into the year.