A record of 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA sounds good, but the numbers, as often can be in baseball, are misleading.
In his first four starts King Felix was 3-0, winning his first three before a no decision. He pitched 28 1/3 innings, allowed only 18 hits and 6 runs. And he struck out 39 walking only 3. His ERA was 1.91. Those are kingly numbers.
But in his last four starts, he pitched 24 1/3 innings giving up 29 hits and 10 runs. He struck out 14 and walked 9. He was 0-1 with 3 no decisions. What is really worrisome is that in his last start against Oakland 6 1/3 innings and zero strikeouts. What? King Felix not getting a strikeout. That has not happened since 2008 against the White Sox when he tossed 5 innings.
Strikeouts and King Felix go together like strawberries and cream, like chocolate and peanut butter in a Reese Cup, like jam on toast, like maple syrup on pancakes. Can you tell it I am hungry?
The crazy thing is that his downslide occurred during the Mariners hot streak that saw them erase an eight game losing streak, winning 9 of 11 before losing the second game of the doubleheader in Oakland.
A couple of starts Felix was reportedly sick, struggling to get through innings. He even took himself out of the Houston start after five innings as he was too tired, too sick to go on.
In his next start against Oakland he was well, but still struggled, as mentioned with the zero K’s. It could be his strength is not yet back. It could be Oakland has already seen him twice and are making adjustments.
In the past Felix carried the Mariners, truly an ace. But the Mariners have displayed clutch hitting of late, especially in extra innings. Justin Smoak leads the majors with 19 two out rbis. He is batting over .350 from the 7th inning on. Seager, Cano, and others all contributing late inning heroics. And Roenis Elias is quickly becoming a reliable starter to go with Felix and Iwakuma.
If Felix can get back on track and the M’s clutch hitting continues the Mariners should have a nice season. But is Felix well?