It was Battery Night.
No, not some unusual ballpark promotion sponsored by Duracell, but “battery” as in pitcher-catcher battery.
The pitcher was Felix Hernandez and the catcher was Mike Zunino.
And they didn’t really need anyone else.
Felix shut down the Angels of Anaheim forthwith: 8.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K (highlight reel video link).
He now has a nicely compartmentalized season of 12 starts:
- A Hall of Fame stretch of four games with 39 K and 3 BB — 1.91 ERA
- A somewhat un-Felixian stretch of four games with only 14 K and 9 BB — 3.70 ERA
- And the sigh-of-relief stretch of four games with 30 K and 4 BB — 2.30 ERA
The team is 7-1 in the good games, and 1-3 in the bad ones.
Let’s hope that un-Felixian Felix is in the dustbin of history, and Good Felix rules the rest of the season.
And the offense he needed came from his proverbial battery-mate.
Zunino delivered a two-run single in the 2nd, and a solo homer in the 8th to provide all the Seattle RBIs for the night.
On the “RE24” scale, Felix was worth 2.8 runs above average, and Zunino 2.5.
- Hyper-detailed baseball-reference.com boxscore here.
We noted at the start of the year that Zunino would have to carry a big load as a right-handed bat in a lefty-heavy lineup, and now even moreso with Corey Hart out.
But we also felt like he had the mental makeup to carry more of an ISO load. We saw Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley wilt when they felt the need to produce more power, but Zunino leads the team with .211 ISO.
He needs to strike out much less, and walk more, to be a true hitting star, but his .228 ISO vs LHP has been crucial to the team, which, as anticipated, has a .145 ISO vs. RHP and a .108 ISO vs. LHP.
Of course, there was huge news in the minors as well.
Namely, the rehab start of top prospect Taijuan Walker.
He went for 3.0 IP and threw 61 pitches. He fanned three and walked none. Walker said he felt fine, but was disappointed with giving up two homers (for a total of four runs) in the 3rd. Postgame comments indicated he may have been tiring and left pitches up in the zone. The article also has some additional info about Walker’s adjustments to his mechanics.
- It’s hard to overshadow a no-hitter — especially one in hitting haven High Desert — but Taijuan’s rehab did just that. Nevertheless, Tyler Pike (6.0 IP), Mark Bordonaro (2.0 IP) and Blake Hauser (1.0 IP) deserve huge props for their desert no-no.
- Pike also had 8 K. Funny how he was coming off his two worst outings of the year (2.0 IP, 7 ER and 3.2 IP, 7 ER). We’re hopeful that Pike was working on things in those rough outings to bring down his BB-rate, which has been his weak point in an otherwise promising young career.
- Pike also go help from … Deeeeej! Home run No. 10 for D.J. Peterson. Also hitting No. 10 was Jordy Lara, who’s trying to make a case for himself this year.
- Outside of Walker, the news from Tacoma was fellow rehabber Logan Morrison hitting a homer and a single, and Carson Smith getting 2 K in a 1.0 IP relief outing.
- Clinton got whipped, but Marcus Littlewood delivered a homer.