Game 78, Red Sox at Mariners, Danny Hultzen’s Cheney Debut, General Excitement
Felix Hernandez vs. Franklin Morales, 7:10pm
Danny Hultzen vs. Jamie Moyer, 7:05pm
Happy Felix?hultzen day, yet again! Let’s hope it goes slightly better than last time, when Hultzen couldn’t find the plate in Colorado Springs. There are obviously a lot of excuses for that – from nerves to altitude to the fact that the city was on fire – but he won’t have them (and hopefully won’t need them) tonight. The Las Vegas 51s start a familiar face, the incomparable Jamie Moyer, who was just picked up by the Blue Jays organization this week. John McGrath’s got a good column pointing out that Jamie Moyer called one of Hultzen’s College World Series games when he worked at ESPN during his Tommy John rehab, and everyone everywhere is trotting out those “Jamie Moyer is older than X” factoids.
Felix Hernandez is coming off a very encouraging start against the Padres at Petco Park, striking out 10 in 7 innings. He’s going to be facing a tougher offense tonight; the Red Sox have the 3rd best wOBA while the Padres are 2nd worst. He’ll be opposed by Franklin Morales, another hard-throwing Venezuelan. Morales came up in the Rockies organization, where he was renowned for a plus fastball that occasionally hit the upper 90s, or even 100mph. Fellow fireballer Juan Morillo, a young Dominican, was coming up at the same time, and they were both about one year behind Ubaldo Jimenez; for a month or so in 2006, it really looked like the Rockies were going to deal with playing at altitude by cornering the market on guys who threw ridiculously fast. The problem was that neither Morales nor Morillo knew where the ball was going. This proved fatal for Morillo’s MLB career, and it forced Morales to the bullpen, where he’s been pretty effective as he’s finally found some control. With injuries in their rotation, the Sox have had Morales make a few starts, and he’s been lights out. He’s still got a very good FB for a lefty, averaging around 95, and he’s got a curve and change-up that he uses against lefties and righties, respectively. As a starter, his control’s been impeccable, so the M’s need to get a good pitch and drive it. He rather memorably gave up a long home run to Mike Carp last year when he was working in relief.
4: Montero (DH)
7: Olivo (C)
SP: King Felix