On an oppressive 95-degree day in Yankee Stadium today, Felix Hernandez pitched six innings and was lifted after 97 pitches and one earned run. In the eighth, Mark Teixeira rocketed a homer off relief man Fernando Rodney, and that was all she wrote. 2-1 Yanks. Welcome to the Dog Days of Summer.
King Felix remains at 11-5 and dropped his ERA a smidgen, to 2.77. Also notable in the game was the presence of former Yankee phenom and current Mariner rehab project Jesus Montero, who scored Seattle’s one run. He was called up on July 12 and his two hits today raised his average to .300 (3 for 10).
The miraculous Astros of Houston continue their run at the American League West title: Jose Altuve stands at .293, but today’s star was Sucre’s own Luis Valbuena, who went 4-for-5 with 4 RBIs in Dallas Keuchel’s 12th win. The four knocks bumped Luis above the Mendoza line, at .207. His career average is .229 so he’s still got a bit of ceiling in the 2015 season. Marwin Gonzalez of Puerto Ordaz came in as a late defensive substitution, but his playing time has dwindled in the wake of Puerto Rican rookie phenom Carlos Correa’s emergence at shortstop.
We have injuries to report. Of course it’s known that baseball’s best hitter, Miguel Cabrera, suffered a pulled leg muscle just before the All-Star game and won’t play until mid-August, probably. Meanwhile, lefty legend Johan Santana hasn’t quite wrapped up his career yet, but he’s putting his latest comeback on hold until next season because he sustained another injury–a toe infection– while trying to get in playing shape for the Blue Jays.
Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco had a similar outing to King Felix, shutting down the Reds for most of six complete innings but not sticking around for the result, an 11-inning Cleveland win. Carlos has lowered his ERA below 4.00 and it will be interesting to see how he finishes out a very, um, interesting season.
Another right-handed enigma is Maracay’s own Anibal Sanchez, who’s suddenly won 6 decisions in a row to run his record to 9-7 for the middling Tigers. In that run Anibal’s ERA is a stingy 2.68, although for the year it sits at 4.55, still.
Anibal is one of 10 Sanchezes in MLB, and Martin Perez is one of 20 players with his surname. The Miracle Man of Guanare needed a bit of one on the heels of his May 19, 2014 Tomasito Juan surgery. Friday was the lefty’s first game back and he gave up three runs in five innings, in a loss to Houston. Welcome back, kid.
As for the All-Star game itself, King Felix pitched a nice shutout frame for the American League, but Francisco Rodriguez didn’t fare as well for the senior circuit, surrendering two runs in the NL loss.
And in Boston, a VZ star-in-the-making is due to pitch for the Sawx tonight: lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, a pleasant surprise in the first half with a 5-2 mark and a decent 3.59 ERA. The Valenciano’s just 22 and has been given ample opportunity in his first MLB campaign in a thus-far lackluster Boston season. He’s pitched 9 times since his May 28 debut and exceeded 100 pitches four times. To the delight of the Fenway Faithful, no doubt, Eduardo even picked former Sox Jacoby Ellsbury off first base in his last win against the Yankees.
And what do they call him in Boston? E-Rod, naturally.