Felix was really good last night. Forget the four runs allowed – that was about as good as a pitcher can throw. The 11 strikeouts were a season high, and he did it on the same night that he ran a 15/2 GB/FB rate. There’s usually a trade-off between ground balls and strikeouts – you go for one at the expense of the other. Felix faced 33 batters, and 26 of them either struck out or hit it on the ground. That’s incredible.
Over his last 10 starts, Felix is running a 60% GB% and an 8.25 K/9. For the last couple of months, he’s been as good as he was during his first two months the majors back in 2005, when he burst on the scene and looked like the best young pitcher in the history of baseball. It took him four years to get back to that level, but he’s done it. Hitters adjusted, he struggled with his command, he had to learn how to pitch, but he’s back to that level.
He is, once again, that amazing combination of groundball and strikeout dominator. For the last two months, he’s been the Roy Halladay type ace that we always thought he could be.
It’s been a frustrating journey at times, because we all knew Felix was capable of so much more. But, the struggles have matured him, made him better, and turned him into an ace.
Zack Greinke has had a better 2009 season, but right now, Felix Hernandez may be the best pitcher in baseball. He’s ascending to the throne before our very eyes.
Long Live King Felix.