This season has not been one where Seattle Mariners and perfection have been used a lot in the same sentence. But today, Wednesday, August 15th, the Seattle Mariners joined the storied list of franchises that own a perfect game to their credit. Felix Hernandez showed why he is one of the best pitchers in baseball by throwing a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays. This capped maybe the best six-game stretch of the year for the Mariners. Seattle took two of three from the Angels including beating A.L. Cy Young front runner Jared Weaver, and then took two of three from the Rays. Seattle snapped Tampa’s seven game winning streak last night, before King Felix’s gem today.
And, it was just that. Felix Hernandez handcuffed the Ray offense all day striking out twelve Ray batters. He got stronger as the game went on striking out the side in the sixth and eighth innings. Hernandez added two strike outs in the final frame, getting pinch hitter Desmond Jennings and Sean Rodriguez for the final out. So with the pressure of a perfect game not to mention a mere 1-0 lead, Hernandez struck out eight of the final twelve batters that he faced. For King Felix himself, this continues a streak of pure dominance. Felix hasn’t lost since June 12 against the Padres. Since then, he is 7-0 in 12 starts. During that stretch including today, Felix Hernandez has thrown four complete game shut outs and against the stronger part of the A.L.: Boston, Texas, the Yankees, and Tampa Bay. This was also the third time this season he has thrown a complete game shut out and won 1-0. All this and the righty is 26, with hopefully many more seasons ahead of him.
It’s been a good three weeks to be a Mariner fan. The team is playing better, and they are making the slow climb to try and finish this season at .500. It’s still uphill at this point at 55-64. They have bounced back from a bad East Coast trip (1-5 vs. the Yankees and Baltimore) to go 4-2 against two teams in playoff contention, the Angels and Rays. Although they are still seven games back of the Angels for third, this possible last place finish carries more optimism than the cellar dwellers of the past. The schedule now eases up for Seattle: they finish a nine-game home stand with three against Minnesota and three against Cleveland. They may not be out of the woods yet, but, for today, Seattle is perfect.