DETROIT – Pitching matchups don’t get much bigger than this: Felix Hernandez vs. David Price.
It has been fun to watch the build-up. Fun to see the national media talking about this game three days before the first pitch (actually strange to see the national coverage). How many times in the past few years have we turned on the nightly national sportscasts to not even hear a mention of the Mariners? It is amazing how fast things can change.
Felix is set to take the hill. He arrived at the ballpark on the second bus as he always does on his pitch day. He was loud, into everything and what I can only describe as bouncy in the clubhouse for two hours before batting practice. He has never been a guy to keep to himself on start days as most pitchers do, but there was no question there was a little extra today. He is clearly looking forward to this matchup.
Felix enjoys pitching here. It is where he made his big-league debut, and that means something. His locker is in the same spot in the visiting clubhouse as it was that August day in 2005. He wants it that way. He is extremely comfortable here.
He has won his last nine starts against the Tigers and enjoys pitching to some of the best hitters in the game. He even gave Miguel Cabrera a little bit of the Adrian Beltre treatment last night, yelling at him across the field during the early innings. Of course, like Beltre, Cabrera has put up big numbers against him, hitting .417 in 24 at-bats. No homers, but two doubles. We will see how Felix handles him tonight.
The streak is on the line once again as he goes for his 17th consecutive start of seven or more innings with two or fewer runs allowed. If he accomplishes that, he will also continue the streak by the Mariners of 13 straight games without allowing more than three runs.
Austin Jackson, 8
Dustin Ackley, 7
Robinson Cano, 4
Kendrys Morales, DH
Chris Denorfia, 7
Kyle Seager, 5
Mike Zunino, 2
Logan Morrison, 3
Chris Taylor, 6
• There is interest in this game overseas as well. NHK in Japan is carrying the game and has asked for a postgame guest should the Mariners win. That is something we generally see only on Hisashi Iwakuma starts.
• Robinson Cano is in the lineup and says that he is fine after fouling a ball off his instep last night.
• Sunday’s game against the Tigers will be carried locally on ROOT Sports and nationally on TBS.