King of NY: Felix looks to continue Bronx dominance
By Gary Hill
The last time Felix Hernandez toed the rubber in the Bronx he befuddled the powerful Yankees for nine innings. The King spun a complete-game, two-hit shutout as the M’s made their lone-run stand in his memorable masterpiece. Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira and Ichiro were all helpless as the Yankees only managed to get one base runner as far as second base.
It was another in a line of dominant efforts at new Yankee Stadium for Felix. He is 4-1 with a 1.13 ERA in five starts in the Yanks’ new home. He has thrown 39 2/3 innings, fanning 40 while only yielding one homer in their cozy confines.
Felix Hernandez is 4-1 with a 1.13 ERA in five career starts at the new Yankee Stadium heading into Tuesday’s start. (AP)
This is the same launching pad where 231 homers were smashed in 2012, the most in baseball. Raul Ibanez is the only Yankee to take Felix deep in the new stadium. Of the five runs Felix has coughed up at Yankee Stadium in nearly 40 innings, three of them came on one swing of the bat from Ibanez.
Felix’s numbers this season are nothing short of spectacular. He’s 4-0 with a 0.71 ERA in his last five starts. That’s three runs in five starts. He has the best ERA in the American League (1.53) and the second-best WHIP (0.90). He’s tied for second in innings (58 2/3) and ranks eighth in strikeouts (56) and ninth in batting average against (.213). He’s been completely dominant on the road, with a 4-1 record and a 1.25 ERA.
The pinstripes will look familiar to Felix tonight, but the faces have dramatically changed. Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis and Curtis Granderson are all on the disabled list.
However, several current Yankees have turned back the clock and have helped New York climb to the top of the AL East. They are tied for the best record in the league and second-best record in baseball and despite the heavy losses they are still sixth in MLB in homers.
They still feature slugger Robinson Cano, who is 15-for-41 (.366) all-time against Felix. Vernon Wells has dipped himself into the fountain of youth (.299/.349/.526), but he has not found much luck against The King, going just 6-for-28 (.214) against him. Travis Hafner (7-for-29, .259), Lyle Overbay (2-for-15, .133), Brett Gardner (5-for-19, .294), Jayson Nix (5-for-10, .500) and Ichiro (2-for-5, .400) are the thrust of the new Yankee order.
On the other side, CC Sabathia is 12-4 with a 2.46 career ERA against the Mariners. He is riding an eight-game winning streak into tonight against the M’s and has not lost to them since 2009. Keep this in mind for the game tonight: The top-three batting averages for the M’s against Sabathia belong to Brendan Ryan (.400), Robert Andino (.357) and Kendrys Morales (.357).
It is a marquee matchup in the Bronx tonight. Felix will look to keep the roll going and get the M’s off to a strong start on their nine-game trip.