Felix Hernandez pitched his best game since at perhaps 2015 Wednesday in San Diego when he cleared seven framed and allowed just one run on three hits. He walked one and struck out eight, and got through his outing on just 75 pitches.
We’ll again tackle Felix’s modus operandi on Baseball Things over the weekend as we near his next start, but here’s what my pitch chart reveals.
That’s 76% strikes, and of the 36 induced swings, 36% resulted in whiffs.
The game Wednesday marked the first time Hernandez pitched at least seven innings, tallied eight or more strikeouts and allowed one or fewer earned run since July 20, 2017, and he’s done it just three times since the end of the 2015 season.
If we add the one-walk qualifier, Felix hasn’t had a game like Wednesday’s performance since May 27, 2015.
While this is far from vintage King Felix — he’s still throwing 89-90 mph, not 93-plus, and his secondaries aren’t power offerings the way they were four or five years ago — we’re starting to compile real evidence he’s figured out how to be effective after three full seasons of, well, clinging to a rotation spot, if not a roster spot.