A true pitchers duel took place on Friday: The King vs the Shark. The King prevailed in the end, but the game was marked with an asterisk due to a questionable strike three call to Nick Punto with a runner on third and two outs. Aside from the possible controversy, the game was great and a close one. Each player had a unique performance, and thus gets a unique grade. Only notable players will be named.
Felix Hernandez: 8.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 9 K, W. Grade: A.
Felix Hernandez was his usual dominant self, holding the A's to a homer and some singles, producing a game score of a solid 69. His fastball was on target as was his other pitches, as he threw 72.2% of his pitches for strikes. Felix faced a total of 31 batters, and threw first-pitch strikes to 23 of them. He also was effective on keeping the ball where it could be played, scoring a ground ball to fly ball ratio of 2:1. But part of Felix's great strike performance was because the A's were taking a lot of pitches. They looked at 23, while swinging-and-missing at 13. The only control issue he had was when he delt a wild pitch in the top of the fifth. You can also add that aside from the first inning, Hernandez pitched a shutout. In end, it's a solid A grade for Hernandez, no doubt.
Robinson Cano: 2-3, 1 RBI, 1 K. Grade: B+
Cano played a huge part in the Mariners win, slicing a double for the go-ahead run to win the game. But Cano did not have the performance that his stat line said that he had. He only saw 6 pitches in three at bats, or about 2 per at bat. Short story: he was impatient at the plate and swung at mistakes. Nobody with three or over at bats had as few pitches seen as Cano today. Plus, his double down the line was a lucky hit, as it stayed just inside the foul line and was a blooper. However, this is a good piece of hitting by Cano, taking a good pitch from Samardzjia and slicing in. But Cano also struck out once. He gets the plus on the B+ because he had a nice day in the field, turning a double play and was errorless.
Logan Morrison: 1-3, HR. Grade: B
Logan Morrison hit a bomb off of Samardzija, let's keep it at that. He had a nice day at the plate, hitting the ball in play in all three of his at-bats, while taking and swinging at a respectable 11 pitches on the day. Without the one pitch that Morrison hit a mile, the Mariners probably would not have won. He and Cano obviously played the biggest role in this game. His other two at bats he made solid contact: a lineout to left and a grounder to first. A nice day for LoMo, off of one of the game's best pitchers, no less.
Fernando Rodney: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1K, SV. Grade: C
Fernando Rodney had a bumpy ninth inning and was debatedly bailed out by the umpire on the last pitch of the ballgame. There's no doubt that his control was off today, as he gave up a walk and a wild pitch. Maybe it even should've been two walks, we'll never know. He threw 26 pitches in the ninth inning, stranding a runner at third and making the Mariner fans get squirmy in their seats. But you can't deny he got the job done: he secured a win for the Mariners and that's pretty much all that matters.
Jeff Samardzija: CG, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, L. Grade: A-
The A's have an ace, as if they needed one. Jeff Samardzija didn't turn in his greatest start ever, but it was solid. He went the distance, allowing just five hits in the proccess. He turned in a good game score of 65, which shows he had just about as good of a start as Felix Hernandez. He had great control and command of his pitches- as usual- giving up no walks. His only bad pitch was a fastball to Morrison that he hit out of the park. I'll give credit to Cano for the nice piece of hitting, as the pitch Samardzija threw was a good one. Really, Samardzija should've won and we can't take anything away from him.
Stephen Vogt: 2-3, HR, BB. Grade: A-
Stephen Vogt is on fire. Period. He homered off of one of the game's best pitchers, and then he singled to lead off the 8th. He made contact three times and then walked. He saw a total of 15 pitches on the night. His blend of patience and power gives him an A- grade. His homer to right traveled about 370 feet, which is a homer in most ballparks. Good effort by Vogt in the loss today.
Brandon Moss: 0-4, 2 SO. Grade: D
Moss is hitting a little bit of a slump. After raking in the beginning of the season, he has come down to earth. But Moss battled, looking at 18 pitches, second highest for either team (behind Norris.) But he struggled to make good contact in his at bats, striking out twice angainst Felix Hernandez then grounding out twice, once to the pitcher. Hopefully Moss can make up for his performance tomorrow, because he did not, in any way, help the A's. Might've won if Moss had gotten a hit with Donaldson on first.
Around the league:
•Billy Hamilton is superman. He evaded that tag like an absolute boss, which led to a run.
•The Cubs can't hold a lead. When you have Rondon closing, you know your team isn't good. It's a good thing he got bailed out by his offense, though.
•Tim Lincecum is Tim Lincecum again? 4th straight win, no runs allowed.
•Chapman broke another record. 40 straight saves with a strikeout. 106 MPH and now this. He's a beast.
•Harper finally homered. Seeing his average drop from .270 to .248, it was time for something.
•Trout's more of a slugger than a speedster now. He hit his 22nd today, with is in the top 5 in the AL. He has also batted in 69 runs.
•M. Cabrera now has an amazing 74 RBI's with the sacrifice fly in the 2-1 win over KC today.
•Balfour was only good with Oakland.