One of the stories I never quite got around to writing about in 2012 was the perfect game thrown by Felix Hernandez of the Mariners. Today's guest poster has been nice enough to correct that oversight:
Even With Perfection, Felix Hernandez Was Overlooked
Despite another lost season for the Seattle Mariners, in August of 2012 the team experienced their ace reach true perfection. Felix Hernandez threw the 23rd perfect game in baseball history last year, and the 2nd of 2012 when he faced the Tampa Bay Rays.
From the very beginning, Hernandez was looking even better than the Cy Young Award winner has in the past. He began the game by inducing a ton of weakly hit ground balls and fly outs. Striking out two the first time through the order was impressive, but it was not until the sixth inning that things got interesting.
In the top of the sixth, Hernandez began to turn it up a notch, and the crowd took notice. He struck out the 7-8-9 hitters for the Rays to complete the second time through the order. When he came out for the seventh, he got outfielder Sam Fuld to roll over a ball, but then BJ Upton came up for the most controversial part of the perfect game.
Upton grounded out to Sean Rodriguez at third base, but Rays manager Joel Madden would come out and actually be ejected for arguing the call. After a delay, some wondered if Hernandez would cool down. He responded by striking out five of the last six batters he faced, putting his stamp on baseball history.
With so many perfect games and no hitters thrown in recent memory, Hernandez never really received the attention he deserved, even in fantasy baseball circles. In fact, that has sort of been his problem his entire career. Even during his Cy Young award season, many looked at his 13-12 record as though it was his fault.
Ironically, the Mariners only offered him one run of support during that August game. He was one swing away from getting a no-decision in that game for the ages. Even by Hernandez’s standards, he was simply dominant in every way manageable in that game.