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This Felix Hernandez fastball, changeup GIF is awesome

GIF: Felix Hernandez circle change superimposed over his fast... on Twitpic

It’s GIFs like these that make the hardcore baseball fans drool.

This awesome GIF shows Felix Hernandez throwing a fastball and changeup and superimposed it so you can see the movement of the two pitches at the same time.

Felix Hernandez pitchThis actually came from two pitches thrown to Brandon Moss during a July 11 game between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s. Moss fouled off the changeup on the second pitch of the at-bat, and then he struck out on the fastball on the fourth pitch.

The movement on that changeup is just sickening. I seriously had to watch it several times to believe it. I thought it was a splitter, but Felix doesn’t throw one. It broke almost like a 12-6 curveball, but it wasn’t. That was a changeup. And it sure helps to explain how Felix has maintained his dominance despite his declining velocity.

King Felix averaged in the 95 mph range on his fastball his first 3 seasons in the majors. He averaged in the 94 mph range his second three seasons. The past three seasons, though, he’s averaged no higher than 92.4 mph on his fastball. So how has he been so successful? He’s started throwing his changeup more. A lot more.

According to Fangraphs, King Felix threw his change 23 percent of the time last year, and he’s throwing it 28.7 percent of the time this season.

A drop in velocity has been death to several pitchers — Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia are coming to mind — but King Felix has been able to stay awesome. That changeup explains everything.

If you liked that, you’ll love this Yu Darvish GIF.

H/T Reddit; GIF via @cjzero

Report: Carlos Peguero’s wife illegally used Felix Hernandez’s wife’s credit card

Carlos-Peguero-MarinersAnd now, for one of the most bizarre reports you will ever read. Seattle Mariners outfielder Carlos Peguero’s wife, Maria Peguero, is currently facing federal wire-fraud charges. According to The Seattle Times, Maria has been accused of buying nearly $180,000 worth of online merchandise using a credit card that did not belong to her. Here’s where it gets really weird.

The credit card Maria, 22, allegedly used belonged to Sandra Hernandez, the wife of Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez. Court documents claimed Maria spent a few days at the Hernandez residence back in May of 2012 when the team was on a lengthy road trip. Peguero would have had access to Sandra’s credit cards during that time.

The charges against Peguero allege that Saks Fifth Avenue in New York became suspicious of a series of transactions made with a debit card on an account belonging to “Jackie Peguero.” Maria’s full name is Maria Jacqueline Peguero. The billing and shipping addresses associated with the account were reportedly different, which raised a red flag. A search warrant for Peguero’s apartment was then obtained by the cybercrime task force and dozens of items were seized.

Peguero allegedly made more than 60 transactions in all and as many as five separate purchases in a single day, ranging in price from a few hundred dollars to $11,000 for a single transaction. Investigators discovered that Peguero was associated with an email address at versacegoldbarbie@yahoo.com, which they later traced to her Twitter account. The Twitter page reportedly featured photos of Peguero with some of the items they believe were illegally purchased.

Federal wire-fraud carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

For what it’s worth, Peguero was arrested in 2010 in Texas for shoplifting several items from a TJ Maxx store. Carlos Peguero, who has been with the Mariners for three seasons, said he had no knowledge of his wife’s alleged purchases.

I’m just speculating here, but I would imagine this investigation has created a tiny bit of awkwardness between Carlos and Felix. That has to make for some weird locker room talk.

H/T Hardball Talk

Felix Hernandez to radio host who asks if he will stay in Seattle: ‘Yeah, I promise’

Fans, analysts and general managers around baseball cannot seem to accept that Felix Hernandez may stay with Seattle. The fact that King Felix is the best young pitcher in the game and recently threw a perfect game does not neccessarily guarantee he will be pitching in a mega-market like Boston or New York at some point in the near future. The Mariners have their ace under control through 2014, and they are not looking to trade him in the meantime.

During an interview with Sports Radio KJR that the Seattle Times shared with us on Tuesday, the 26-year-old Hernandez discussed his future and reassured Mariners fans that he has no intention of pitching anywhere else.

“You guys will be happy,” Hernandez said when host Mitch Levy told him the fans in Seattle are nervous about his next contract. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Levy then asked Hernandez if he was willing to promise he will stay with the Mariners.

“Yeah, I promise,” he continued. “I’m not going nowhere. You’ve got to talk to (Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik) and all those guys over here.”

[Read more...]

Felix Hernandez knew he had something going in the 3rd or 4th inning

Felix Hernandez threw the third perfect game in baseball this year and 23rd in MLB history when he led the Mariners to a 1-0 win over the Rays in Seattle on Wednesday. Hernandez threw 113 pitches and struck out 12 of the batters he faced.

The stud pitcher said after the game that he recognized something special was brewing very early.

“In the third or fourth I realized I had something going on,” said Hernandez. “I was throwing my breaking ball for a strike, I was throwing every pitch in every count. And we played unbelievable defense.”

Hernandez’s stuff was noticeably great on Wednesday. He said he only shook off catcher John Jaso a few times. Jaso raved about the former Cy Young winner’s stuff.

“He struck (Evan) Longoria out on a curveball,” said Jaso. “It was one of the nastiest curveballs that I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Hernadez is the first Mariners pitcher to throw a perfect game, and the third to throw a no-hitter (the franchise had six pitchers combine on a fourth no-hitter). The Mariners also became the first team to have three no-hitters thrown in their park in the same year, and they are the first team to throw a perfect game and have one thrown against them in the same season.

Another bizarre stat is that the Rays had a perfect game thrown against them for the third time in four seasons. Mark Buehrle did it in 2009, Dallas Braden in 2010, and King Felix did it this season. They were also no-hit by Edwin Jackson in 2010.

The perfect game was something you could almost see coming for Hernandez. Two starts before, Hernandez threw a complete game two-hit shutout against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. He had a complete game three-hit shutout against the Rangers last month with 12 strikeouts, and he struck out 13 Red Sox in another complete game shutout in June.

The 26-year-old Venezuelan was already recognized as one of the best pitchers in baseball, and now he has a perfect game to further cement his legacy.

Photo: Joe Nicholson – US Presswire

Lack of Mariners Run Support Made Felix Hernandez Deserving Cy Young Winner

King Felix has finally earned his crown. The 24-year-old right-hander from Venezuela was announced as the American League Cy Young Award winner on Thursday. With just a 13-12 record his Cy Young victory symbolizes a major league change in the game. What’s at stake anymore? Is it fantasy or is it real?

Mathematicians using sabermetrics are now imperative for every team to utilize in the decision making process. What used to be the ultimate purpose of the game — earning a win — has become just another number. A guy that 20 years ago may have been cast upon the scrap heap has gained new found value. Players are being judged in ways old scouts never would have dreamed. Mathematical formulas and graphs are now so intertwined its hard to tell the difference between a baseball scout and a computer programmer.

It’s hard to argue against wins being the most important stat. What else are they wearing those funny looking uniforms for?

Due to the nature of a team game, however, wins must be earned by the entire team, as a team. A pitcher cannot win if his team does not score runs. That is the tragic burden piled upon the pitching arm of Felix Hernandez. In his 12 losses, his team scored a total of seven runs while he was in the game. It’s going to be tough to win with run support like that, no matter who you are.

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Felix Hernandez Has to be the AL Cy Young Award Winner

Much to his dismay, the Seattle Mariners decided to shut down Felix Hernandez and skip his scheduled start in the season finale on Sunday. King Felix will miss a chance at solidifying his Cy Young candidacy, but it shouldn’t matter; Hernandez has shown that he is undoubtedly the best pitcher in the American League this year.

Hernandez finished the season 13-12 while leading the Majors with a 2.27 ERA. The 24-year-old stud also threw 249.2 innings, which was one shy of tying Roy Halladay for the MLB lead. Hernandez’s monstrous innings pitched total was more than anyone else in baseball the past five seasons and the most in the American League since Halladay threw 266 in 2003.

In case you don’t understand the significance of this achievement, we’ll put it simple: the more innings you pitch, the more you’re helping your team by sparing the bullpen and giving the club many more high-quality innings than they would get from more inferior pitchers.

In addition to the stellar innings total, Hernandez blew hitters away with his blazing fastball and devastating curve and change up to the tune of 232 strikeouts. The 232 total placed King Felix second in baseball, one behind Angels pitcher Jered Weaver.

Still not impressed?

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AL Mid-Season Baseball Awards

With baseball at the All-Star break, we assembled the staff here at LBS to select our mid-season baseball awards. Up first, the AL Awards. Tomorrow, the NL Awards.

AL MVP

Alan Hull says Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers: While Robinson Cano, Justin Morneau and Josh Hamilton are all in the mix, the MVP Award should probably be called the Triple Crown Category Leader on a Winning Team Award. Cabrera isn’t very good defensively, doesn’t play a difficult position, but with Albert Pujols having a down year, he has sneaked into the conversation for the best hitter in baseball. I could see Cano winding up winning it in the end.

Steve DelVecchio says Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees: Cano has been the best hitter on the best team in the majors, and on top of that he’s only made one fielding error so he has second base locked down defensively. With a line of 16 HR 67 RBI and a .337, he doesn’t necessarily have the best stats in the AL, but you have to give weight to the Yankees position and also what he’s done on defense.

Larry Brown says Miguel Cabrera: From the beginning of the season all the way to the All-Star break, Miggy has been the most consistent hitter in baseball. He sobered up in the offseason and that seems to have taken his already ridiculous offensive game to an Albert Pujols-level. He’s heading for his best season ever.

Jake Walker says Miguel Cabrera: He’s leading the AL in batting average, RBIs, and he’s second in home runs. He has a legitimate shot at winning the Triple Crown in the AL. How can you not say he’s MVP? In another year Cano might get it, but not with the year Cabrera’s having.

[Read more...]