By Shannon Drayer
It's not every day Felix Hernandez throws a two-hit, complete-game shutout in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium, but it does happen. He did it Saturday and he did it June 30, 2010. He has thrown five complete games where he allowed two hits or less in his career and after Saturday's game Eric Wedge said that we had just witnessed the best.
"That was just special stuff today," he said in his office. "I told him that was probably the most impressive start that I have ever seen as a manager and I have seen some good ones. This ballpark, that lineup, the swing and misses, the mishits. With so many good hitters over there, the efficiency of which he did it? In a 1-0 ballgame it doesn't get any better than that."
High praise indeed from a man who has had CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee on his pitching staffs in the past. These weren't just words for the camera. I was on the field as the coaches were coming out to shake hands with the players at the end of the game and this is what Wedge was saying to Carl Willis as they walked out on the field.
Wedge said the fact that it was a 1-0 game made it an entirely different monster all together.
"He knows exactly one pitch could be the ballgame and that is the danger. One-nothing always has a different feel to it," he said. "What you saw today, you are not going to find any better than that."
Well, maybe we did in 2010. That year Felix made a late tear through the east that in my opinion sealed the deal for his Cy Young. When the east coast writers got to see him dismantle the Yankees and Red Sox they took notice. From Baseball-Reference.com, take a look at what he did in late summer 2010.
One earned run in six starts. I have a feeling his stuff is actually better right now. His numbers 23 starts into the 2012 season, however, are surprisingly close to where they were at the same point in 2010.
After Saturday Felix has totaled 164 innings pitched and 153 strikeouts to 41 walks and currently has a 2.63 ERA.
In 2010 throughout 23 games, he had pitched 167 innings, with 149 strikeouts to 46 walks and an ERA of 2.79.
This Felix we are seeing looks very familiar. There could be plenty of special in the final two months of the season.