If you’ve watched any Felix Hernandez starts prior to today, you probably noticed a pattern. He tries to establish his fastball early on, throwing the pitch constantly. His heater is a fine pitch and plenty fast, but he leaves it up in the zone sometimes. And a 96 mph fastball can be easy to hit when you see ten of them in a row (relatively speaking – obviously I still couldn’t hit it). Hernandez has an amazing offspeed repertoire, especially his curveball.
The die-hard fans at U.S.S. Mariner have been painfully aware of this trend for quite some time. Frustration boiled over on June 27th, when Dave Cameron wrote a post: An Open Letter To Rafael Chaves. Chaves is the Mariners’ pitching coach. The letter pleaded for Chaves to make Felix mix up his pitches early on.
Cameron probably never anticipated that Chaves would actually read the letter. But he did, and the pitching coach actually gave a copy to Felix for him to read. Chaves has been trying to hammer this point home with Hernandez, but the letter helped reinforce the need for better pitch selection. Hernandez tossed eight scoreless innings today, crediting the letter for his early success. How cool is that? Blogs actually can make a difference. Open sentence to Dave Cameron: Mariners fans, fantasy baseball owners, and baseball fans in general thank you for getting through to The King. Next up, teach Rich Hill a third pitch.