Felix, Felix, Felix, and Guti too

Aug 27, 2012, 9:27 PM | Updated: Aug 28, 2012, 9:33 am

By Shannon Drayer

The numbers are starting to get ridiculous for Felix Hernandez. After what looked to be an effortless 1-0 complete-game victory over the Twins Tuesday night, this is what we are looking at. Thanks to Mariners media relations and Elias for the following stats.

Felix Hernandez got his ninth straight win on Tuesday with a complete-game shutout against the Twins. (AP)

• With the 1-0 win, Felix becomes the first pitcher in Mariners history to throw five shutouts in a season.

• Felix becomes the first pitcher since 1976 to get the win in four-plus 1-0 games. The last five to do so are Bert Blyleven 1976, Fergie Jenkins 1974, Don Drysdale 1968, Bob Gibson 1968, Joe Horlen 1968.

• Felix is 9-0 with a 1.40 ERA over his last 14 starts.

• Felix takes the ERA lead in the MLB with a 2.43 and also leads innings pitched at 196.2. He is third in strikeouts (184) and tied for sixth in the American League with 13 wins.

• Felix picked up his ninth straight win, tying his career-best winning streak.

After the win Felix was his typical self – happy, throwing all sorts of praise to his teammates, John Jaso and Franklin Gutierrez in particular. He said that Tuesday night was different in that he was getting so many grounders on his breaking ball rather than his sinker. When Justin Morneau got the triple he told himself that he would get no further.

“Can’t score. Can’t score, can’t happen,” he said.

And it didn’t. Felix was able to induce ground balls on a curve to Ryan Doumit, a slider to Trevor Plouffe and a fastball away to Jamey Carroll and it was the end of the inning. Nice defense and nice defensive positioning.

A great night for Felix but also a very good night for Franklin Gutierrez, who made his return. He singled in his first at bat, made a top-10 play on the wall in center, stole two bases, took a walk and was hit in the hand by a pitch. When he came out to talk to us that hand was wrapped in ice.

“Really?” he said, shaking his hand. “Really?” he asked even louder.

He assured us everything was okay. What wasn’t okay was the time he spent at first base. Every time the pitcher threw over he flinched. Not only did he flinch but he covered his head as he got back to the base.

“Oh my God,” he said of the experience. “Every time he was throwing over I was having flashbacks. I think it is going to take time. It’s going to take time to forget about that. You are going to see me try to protect my face and whatever I can. It’s going to take time.”

As for the stolen bases, Gutierrez was a man on a mission.

“The other pitcher was throwing good to us and in my mind I was just trying to get on base and as soon as I got to first base I was trying to get to second base to give the team a chance to score some runs,” he said. “I was trying to put the hitters in a good count for me to go and I did it. I stole two bases tonight.”

Think about it. Here was a guy who suffered a severe concussion after getting hit at first base on a pickoff attempt. He was clearly uncomfortable there Tuesday but focused on what he had to do in the game. He crashed into a wall, stole two bases, was hit by a pitch, he was aggressive and gave everything out there. It was impressive.

Don’t think his teammates didn’t notice. Talk about setting an example.

Eric Wedge was excited to have Gutierrez back. We all know what he can be – actually, we don’t. I think there is more than what we have seen but we have an idea of what he can be if he is healthy. Gold Glove defense in center, smart baseball player, right-handed bat and Wedge believes he can hit him just about anywhere.

I will throw in one more thing. In setting an example on Tuesday, for one night he showed that he can be that veteran presence they are looking for. Not only does he do the right thing on the field but I have also seen him do things with younger players behind the scenes. He could be very valuable in that regard as well. Felix loves him, too.

Everything with Gutierrez is prefaced with “if he can stay healthy.” It has to be with his history, but cross your fingers. He could be a difference maker. A difference maker that is already on this team.

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Felix, Felix, Felix, and Guti too