The A's are unable to solve the mystery of Felix Hernandez

Published: Apr 05, 2014 19:02pm EDT
By JasonNeal, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Apr 05, 2014 @ 07:02pm EDT

 

On a perfectly sunny, 66-degree day in Oakland, 30,290 fans made the trek to O.co Coliseum to watch the Oakland Athletics take on the Seattle Mariners. Dan Straily and the A’s got a chance for a little redemption for the Bay Area against Felix Hernandez and Seattle.  According to Carl Steward of the Bay Area News Group, King Felix has had nine consecutive starts without a loss against the A’s, going 4-0 with a 2.98 ERA in that span.

Straily and Hernandez traded blows, going pitch for pitch, through three innings.  Straily allowed a looping single to right, but quickly dug himself out of the inning and retired the side.  Hernandez was on point, striking out seven through the first four innings.  Hernandez did not allow a base runner until the fourth inning, giving up a single to Jed Lowrie followed by a double to Brandon Moss.

Dan Straily found himself getting hit hard by Seattle in the fifth inning, giving up homeruns to Abraham Almonte and Dustin Ackley.  Both shots were deep, towering drives to right field with Josh Reddick barely giving chase on either hit. 

Felix shut down the Green and Gold in the fifth inning, not allowing a hit for the fourth out of five innings.  His delivery was absolute perfection and the A’s hitters seemed to be off balance through the first five innings. 

Straily came out to start the sixth inning, picking up right where he left off in the fourth inning.  The strong righty got Corey Hart to ground out to third and giving Josh Donaldson a chance to battle the fabled Oakland sun for the next two outs, pop ups by Kyle Seager and Logan Morrison.

The A’s were able to pose some offensive threat with Coco Crisp tripling up the right field line, but Josh Donaldson and Jed Lowrie were unable to bring Crisp home from third.  Hernandez also got out of a jam with runners on second and third in the fourth inning after a Lowrie single and a Brandon Moss double that dropped into no mans land.  Yoenis Cespedes came to bat with Moss and Lowrie on base and two outs, but was unable to bring either one home. 

Former Orioles closer, Jim Johnson, made an eighth inning appearance in a non-save situation, and left to cheers for the first time in an Athletics uniform.  Johnson had struggled in his first two appearances, lasting a combined one inning and earning a 45.00 ERA.  His pitching line was 1.0 inning, two strikeouts, and no earned runs, dropping his 2014 ERA to 22.50.  That number is incredibly high, but with only two innings pitched, it will be fairly easy for that number to drop.

Lowrie opened the ninth inning with his first homerun of the 2014 season, a shot to right-center field, barely clearing the fence just left of the 362 foot marker.  Moss singled up the middle on the next pitch and ended up on second when Hernandez threw a wild pitch.  Yoenis Cespedes crushed a ball, barely foul, that would have tied the game at three.  Cespedes ended up hitting a pop fly to right, ending his afternoon and what would have been a storybook way to tie up the game.  John Jaso came to bat against Fernando Rodney, who replaced Hernandez after 8.1 innings of six hit ball.  Jaso struck out looking, Reddick struck out swinging, and the Athletics went down in unceremonious fashion.

Ultimately, the Mariners were too much with Felix at the helm.  The A’s had no answer for anything he did, squandering the few opportunities that were offered, and giving Rodney his first save of the season.  The scene was all too familiar for A’s fans and players, Felix walking out with a victory and the A’s shaking their heads wondering what they could have done differently.  Thankfully, from Oakland’s perspective, it is a young season and there are plenty of games left.


 

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