Jun 28, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez (34) gives left fielder Casper Wells (33) a high-five after making a diving catch against the Boston Red Sox to end the eighth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE
Some losses just aren't that upsetting. This is one of them.
Felix Hernandez was at his best Thursday night, and against that there is little or no defense. Watching at home it can be frustrating. "Why on earth did he swing at that? It was in the dirt!" "That was a mile outside! Just take it!" The response is simple enough: "Because Felix Hernandez threw it, and he knows how to make guys swing and miss."
But tonight was especially bad. It's hard enough to hit Felix on most nights, but with the help of a wide strike zone (applied equally liberally to Franklin Morales) and some absolutely phenomenal defense from Casper Wells, as well as solid backup from the rest of the outfield, there was no scoring to be done. The Sox had their chances--long fly balls with men on from Dustin Pedroia in the third and Adrian Gonzalez in the ninth stick out, but both times the outfield was able to get there and put a glove on the ball. Rally over, and eventually, game over.
It should not be overlooked that Franklin Morales was exceptional as well. Though his pitch count rose faster than Hernandez', Morales allowed just five baserunners in seven innings of work, striking out seven batters in the process and escaping a dangerous seventh inning even as he reached over 100 pitches for the first time in years.
Still, in the end the pen had to come in for Boston, and Scott Atchison couldn't hold things together, allowing a one-out double and single which, with a failed reception from Jarrod Saltalamacchia at the plate on a terrific throw by Cody Ross, was enough to end the game on a walkoff.
It's a loss, but it's one you kind of have to factor in. Sometimes King Felix is King Felix. At least tonight Franklin Morales gave the Sox something to be happy about, and everyone else in the AL East lost with them.