There are a number of reasons to watch every Mariners' game--Franklin Gutierrez's defense, Adrian Beltre's defense, Russel Branyan's offense, Ichiro's everything, and boredom. But last night we got a reminder of why one out of every five games really is must-see TV. Felix Hernandez threw a two-hit shutout against the San Diego Padres--granted, they're awful--and has given up only three earned runs while handing out 34 strikeouts in his last 37 2/3 innings.
As USS Mariner's Dave Cameron pointed out last year, only six other pitchers in history--Bob Feller, Dwight Gooden, Frank Tanana, Bert Blyleven, Dennis Eckersley, and CC Sabathia--have pitched so many innings at such a young age and struck out batters at such a high rate. And while the last five games is a small sample size and Felix can frustrate, it seems like he's well on his way to a stellar career.
Much has been made of Mariner nostalgia of late, what with Randy Johnson getting his standing 'O' and Ken Griffey Jr. a regular lineup spot, despite being a sliver of a shadow of his former self. We M's fans would do ourselves a favor by paying attention to the potential Hall of Fame career that's on the upward part of its trajectory.